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

Archive for September, 2012

What Wargs Really Think! III

What will wargs make of the changes to the other classes in RoR? There’s only one way to find out … it’s time to find out what wargs really think again!

So post RoR here is what we really think of …

Visibles

The other creeps might be really nice guys, but remember brothers, they are still visibles. Don’t get too attached to your bait.

Burgers

Oh dear Touch and Go doesn’t seem to be doing much …

Oh my that Find Footing didn’t help you much there …

Our poor cousins don’t have much fun when their toys get broken. That’s a shame. Well not really seeing as we’re the ones who keep breaking their toys. Hahaha!

Captains

Are these guys tourists or something? They come to the Ettens and all they ever seem to do is stand around watching wargs be awesome and other people fight.

Champions

Anyone who tells you that we are hard to kill needs to take a look at these guys. They run away more than we do!

Hunters

Oh they’re getting a bubble? Great! Food is fresher when it comes wrapped up.

Guardians

Trying to be tough guys didn’t work out for them so they’re getting more damage. Let’s see if they can get out from behind that shield to actually try and poke us with their little swords.

Lore-masters

Nice easy snacks … what’s that? … their CC is getting stronger? … Ok well I suppose that doesn’t matter too much … Oh they’re going to be able to get their attacks off faster? … Well alright they’re still pretty squishy … They’re getting more healing too? Oh for fuck’s sake! I’m going to need to take this out on the Hunters now!  *slaps Hunter whipping boy* See what you made me do Lore-masters!

Minstrels

And they say we’re OP? With a straight face too.

Rune-keepers

Another bubble … won’t save them from the gank squad.

Wardens

Sweet fuck they’re still here!

Blackarrows

More pew pew. More grunt grunt. More pew pew.

Defilers

Have you ever notice how most Defilers seem batshit crazy? Well look this guy heals you so if he wants to go around wearing a pair of knickers on his head that’s just fine in my book.

Reavers

Surely that isn’t a Reaver I see over there killing a freep? I say! It is! Good for you boys!

Warleaders

I have a theory that Warleaders only heal wargs because they’re so incredibly bored with not being able to actually hit anything harder than an arthritic octogenarian. Still the fact is they do heal wargs and sometimes even fire off a rez so you had better watch this guy’s back.

Wargs

Fucking awesome! Duh!

Weavers

Incey Wincey Spider grew up and is now dishing out a dump truck full of arse whippings to freeps. Have to respect that.

QQ

We can’t hear you! Whine harder freeps! WHINE HARDER! WHIIIIIIINE HAAAAAARDER! Oh yeah that’s the good stuff!

You can check what wargs really though in the past in the first and second editions of What Wargs Really Think!


The New Ettenmoors: Part IV

There remains one last part of the Ettenmoors for us to look at: the Delving of Fror. Now before we get into the specifics let me just state that all of the below is just pure guesswork on my part. The Delving has been underused for so long that it is incredibly difficult to say how the changes in RoR will effect its use. I have tried to make some educated guesses, but ultimately this is just conjecture and speculation.

What’s Changing?

The Delving in RoR will essentially have two main functions: provide faction wide infamy/renown/commendations bonuses by killing three bosses in the central room of the Delving and act as an underground ‘fast travel’ system for the Ettenmoors.

The first is the easiest to explain. The central room of the Delving will contain three boss NPCs that when killed will give the side that killed them infamy/renown/commendations buffs. The buffs are pretty big so chances are people will actually go and kill these NPCs unlike the current Delving bosses, which see little action. This of course presents opportunities for battles down there.

The ‘fast travel’ system takes a little more explaining, but I’ll try and keep it as short and simple as I can.

The Delving of Fror runs the entire length of the Ettenmoors underground, however, the Delving is a physically smaller space than the Ettenmoors itself. That means that travelling from point A to point B in the Delving is a shorter distance to travel than going from Point A to Point B in the Ettenmoors. That rule doesn’t always hold true, but as a general rule of thumb it helps to illustrate the concept of the Delving acting as a fast travel mechanism.

Each of the outposts, along with both Elf and Orc Camps, will have an access point to the Delving. The two existing access points for the Delving at Dar Gazag and Ost Ringdyr are still present. Each of these access points leads to a specific room in the Delving. This room will be filled with NPCs of whichever faction controls the access point e.g. if River Outpost is controlled by freeps then its corresponding room in the Delving will have freep NPCs. Following that logic Elf and Orc Camps’ Delving rooms will always have their faction’s NPCs in them.

Thus you could enter the Delving from the River Outpost, for example, make your way towards the room for the Isendeep Outpost and exit there. Of course if your exit point is under enemy control then you may get a nasty surprise.

These access points can also be used for escape. For example, if Orc Camp is being overrun by freeps the creeps could flee through the Delving portal. Any freeps who pursue them would run into creep NPCs in  that room.

How Can Wargs Use The Delving?

There are three main possibilities I have identified so far for wargs in the Delving:

  • Attacking freeps trying to take down the central bosses
  • Patrolling the Delving looking for freeps using it as a travel route
  • Camping access points waiting for freeps to enter the Delving

The first is pretty straightforward stuff. A freep group trying to take down the  bosses might present a warg with an opportunity to pick off someone getting low on morale.

The second is the hardest to predict because we don’t know how much the Delving will be used as a travel mechanism. The Delving does offer the benefit of allowing a freep or a group of freeps to move around the map relatively quickly and unseen. That’s a pretty big incentive to use it, especially for smaller groups. If that turns out to be the case then it could be well worth a warg’s time to patrol the Delving and look for such freeps.

The third point is really an extension of point two. Positioning yourself near a known freep access point e.g. the entrance to the Delving from EC might produce some good results. There will of course be freep NPCs near their access points so you will have to wait for them to move out a bit before attacking, but the theory at least is sound.

Unknowns

As I said above we simply don’t know what impact the new Delving will have on gameplay yet. It’s a part of the Ettenmoors that has been barely used over the years so now that it actually has the potential to have an impact on gameplay it’s difficult to predict what that will be.

My instinct is that it will see more use than it does at the moment, but I suspect that probably won’t become a major hive of activity. Having said that though the bonuses the central bosses give are very tempting so it might end up acting like a sixth keep.


The New Ettenmoors: Part III

In the last part I took a look at what were likely to be the busiest ambush routes for wargs after the RoR Ettenmoors changes. In this part I will be looking at how the overall landscape changes will affect warg tactics.

The EC-OC Shuffle …

… is gone! Both Elf and Orc Camps have been moved far apart and neither is beside a bridge or keep, etc that contains NPCs one side can use to hide behind to farm the other. That’s not to say it will be impossible to farm either location, just that it won’t be quite so easy or straightforward as it was before. This is great news for wargs because farm sessions at either location usually turned into pew pew fests, something we aren’t designed for.

Instead what we are likely to see is both locations being used either as fall back points or as staging areas for attacks. Both camps are deep in ‘enemy territory’ i.e. they are far from their side’s home base and relatively close to what are perceived to be the opposition’s keeps. Like now they will also provide a point for a side to rally at should the opposing side be in control of a majority, or even all, of the map.

The key point though is distance. Neither of these camps is particularly close to their home base, which means that people will have to travel to reach them. In the case of Elf Camp this will involve a considerable journey for a freep from Glan Vraig. Reaching it from other points won’t be a short walk either. This of course means freeps moving around more and for longer. That means more opportunities for wargs to ambush them!

Outposts Galore

The outposts now give a faction wide damage bonus when under your side’s control. This makes them really desirable to control, which in turn means lots of fighting over them. The damage bonus they give can be game changing (which it is supposed to be) so your side is really going to want these locations under its control.

This should lead to two important developments for wargs:

  • More people, especially smaller groups, moving around the map in an effort to try and take control of outposts
  • More fights at outposts between smaller groups

Both of these situations present a great opportunity for wargs to kill freeps Small freep groups moving around the map are a great target for warg packs of course. However, it is the outposts themselves that might give us our greatest opportunity. With small groups fighting over them we have a chance to sneak in and pick off already engaged freeps.

Back Doors

Tol Ascarnen, Lugazag and Tirith Rhaw will all have ‘back doors’. How these work is pretty simple: the side that controls the keep can enter and leave the keep using these back doors. The opposing side can only use the back door to leave the keep. The back door leads from the back of the keep (funnily enough) directly to the flag room. The flag room will always be open and will contain the keep’s quest NPCs.

This system is a superb addition for wargs. The obvious tactic here would be to camp the back door for freeps trying to get inside. That will probably yield good results, but there is another, more daring strategy to look at too. A warg pack could sneak inside whilst the fighting is raging and position themselves in the flag room to wait for particular freeps to enter via the back door. The quest NPCs that are there will mean that the wargs will probably only be able to get one or two kills before having to flee though.

A very important point to mention here is that the back doors will be very important for wargs to look at when the creeps are about to take a keep. Because the flag rooms are always open now freeps can’t simply retreat there and map out in safety as their keep is about to fall. The creeps can, and probably will, chase them all the way to keep them in combat. This means some of them may try and use the back door exit to escape. That’s where we come in … wargs positioned at the bottom of the keep at the back door will be in a good position to intercept any freeps trying to flee this way.


The New Ettenmoors: Part II

In the last part I gave an overview of the landscape changes coming to the Ettenmoors with the Riders of Rohan expansion. In this part I will be examining what these changes mean for wargs and how wargs can best use them to their advantage.

Trade Routes

As any warg who has been around for a while will know one of the oldest tactics is to camp a busy travel route hoping to catch a passing freep. The landscape changes coming with RoR mean that the travel routes we’ve grown accustomed to will almost certainly change. Now I should point out that without any of these changes actually being on the live servers yet it isn’t possible to say for sure what the new travel routes will be, or which ones will be best to patrol. However, we can make some educated guesses and that si exactly what we are going to do here.

The premise is very simple; a travel route takes a freep from somewhere they start out from to somewhere they want to go. With that in mind we can try to predict what those new travel routes will be. I have included a map below showing what I believe will be the busiest of these new routes.

The Red Line

This route leads from Glan Vraig to Elf Camp and it presents us with some of our best opportunities to intercept freeps. Elf Camp is now positioned a considerably distance from Glan Vraig and to reach it a freep will have to travel most of the way across the map. One potential route is to go via the cow field and cross the river at the position where Orc Camp used to be. This will probably be the route of choice for freeps when Tol Ascarnen is under creep control. It is a pretty dangerous route though because if TA is under creep control then freeps have literally no safe spot with friendly NPCs for the entirety of their journey from Glan Vraig to Elf Camp.

As to where the best ambush points will be I can see three main spots: the area around the crossroads leading to the old position of Elf Camp; the spot where Elf Camp used to be and the river crossing near the Good TA map point.

The first of those is already a staple of wargs looking to ambush freeps and needs no explanation save to say that it’s a nice wide open spot with plenty of visibility to spot incoming freeps.

Now the second spot is where Elf Camp is currently. Once RoR launches this will be an empty space and a natural point to pass if a freep is looking to get to Elf Camp via the cow field. This spot offers a great advantage if TA is under creep control because that means that South Bridge will also be under creep control and thus you have a safe spot to retreat to should the need arise.

The last spot is at the river crossing near the Good TA map point. This is a great spot for three reasons: i) the freep has nowhere to go because Elf Camp is still a distance away ii) you can call in help if you need it as the map point is close and iii) the freep may panic and run into the water, which will only make it harder for them to escape.

The Purple Line

This is similar to the red line above except that instead of going via the cow field the freeps go via Tol Ascarnen. Freeps can still be ambushed at the crossroads near the former site of EC or at the former site of EC itself next to South Bridge. Both of these are good locations, but if the freeps control TA the bridge will have freep NPCs so ambushing them near there may provide a safe spot for them to run to.

Ambushing on Tol Lawn is another option and it has the benefit of having the element of surprise if TA is under freep control. Passing freeps will likely feel a modicum of safety as they cross South Bridge and see the keep under their control. That may cause them to let their guard down.

The Yellow Line

This is the route I perceive from Glan Vraig to the south western corner of the map in general. Freeps may take this route to reach Hoarhallow, the new Horahallow Outpost, River Outpost or perhaps even to reach Elf Camp.

You can of course set up your ambush point at an early stage of the route to catch them as they start coming out from Glan Vraig or you can wait until a later stage of the route. The danger here is watching out for what the freeps control; ambushing a freep near a friendly outpost or a freep controlled Lumber Camp isn’t the best idea.

What might work is to ambush them near the spot where South Outpost used to be. Once they pass by the Huorns there they will hopefully aggro them and that gives you an advantage in your ambush.

Another possibility is to wait at the bridges leading to the Hoarhallow Outpost. You will probably want a pack for this though as it is unlikely a single freep will be able to take the outpost by himself given how hard NPCs are hitting now.

The Blue Line

This is the route back to TR from the TR graveyard. The assumption here is that TR is under freep control of course. The freeps have to get off Candy Mountain first and then they are free to take a relatively direct route towards TR.

Two possible intercept points spring to mind here: close to the Good TR map point to ambush them just as they are coming down from Candy Mountain and down towards the bears that are just north of TR. The first of those options is probably the safest since there is less chance of pulling aggro from the nearby bear NPCs. Both points will likely see good traffic though.

The Orange Line

This is the route from Glan Vraig to the north eastern section of the map for access to the two northern outposts and the Isendeep Mine. The first part of this route allows the freeps to use the safe pass from Glan Vraig so our ambushes will have to take place in the latter stages of the route.

Again the Good TR map point might be a good choice here. It will allow for scouting of the approaches to the snow plain in front of the Isendeep Mine and the nearby outpost.

Another possibility is the cliff top path from Ost Ringdyr towards Grothum. Freeps may utilise this pass and a well positioned warg would be in a good place to intercept them with the possibility of calling in backup if needed via Grothum.

The Pink Line

This is the route from the TR graveyard to Elf Camp. It isn’t clear how much Elf and Orc Camps will be used in RoR, or indeed what they will be used for, given that it won’t be as easy to farm them as it is at the moment. However, I believe that both will still see significant activity given that they are friendly spots in hostile territory.

The best ambush points along this route are probably going to be at the ford separating TR and TA. This will be a great place for us to fight now because the water has been made shallower so we don’t need to swim, but rather can move around normally in the water.

TR plains will be another possibility. Because of the new location of Orc Camp freeps will probably ‘go wide’ of it when coming back from the graveyard. This means that in order to reach TR ford or South Bridge they have to pass through TR plains. This is a nice wide open space with plenty of visibility for us and few places for freeps to go save back to TR (assuming it is under their control).


The New Ettenmoors: Part I

As you may or may not already be aware of the Ettenmoors is changing with the launch of RoR. A few of the familiar landmarks we’ve grown accustomed to over the years are either moving position or disappearing entirely. What does this mean for us wargs? That’s a good question because the landscape changes will mean that established patrol routes and camping spots will inevitably change so let’s take a look at the changes and how we can best use them to our advantage.

Overview

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to use these changes to best effect we need to understand exactly what is changing. Below I have included a brief list of the changes.

  • Elf Camp is moving to the current site of the Lugazag graveyard
  • Orc Camp is moving to the current site of the Tirith Rhaw graveyard
  • Lugazag graveyard is moving further south, nearer to the River Outpost
  • Tirith Rhaw graveyard is moving further north, a little north of the peak of Candy Mountain
  • The Coldfells Outpost aka South Outpost is moving to a hill overlooking Hoarhallow
  • The Isendeep Outpost remains where it is currently situated, but it’s name is changing to Arador’s End Outpost
  • The Arador’s End Outpost is moving to just outside the ‘middle’ entrance of the Isendeep Mine and will be known as the Isendeep Outpost
  • There will be a bridge connecting the new Arador’s End Outpost (the old Isendeep Outpost) with the graveyard on Candy Mountain
  • The Plains of Gramsfoot Outpost has been removed from the game
  • The water around Tol Ascarnen has been made shallower between Tol Ascarnen and the former site of Orc Camp as well as at the ford dividing Tol Ascarnen from the hill leading up to Tirith Rhaw
  • The terrain around Tol Ascarnen has been modified to allow for easier access i.e. the slopes surrounding Tol Ascarnen are easier to traverse and there aren’t so many cliffs/impassable points
  • Each of the outposts as well as both Elf and Orc Camps now have doors leading into the Delving of Fror
  • The Delving of Fror has had some of its NPCs cleared out as well as having rooms with access points to specific outposts and Elf and Orc camps.
  • Tol Ascarnen, Tirith Rhaw and Lugazag now all have ‘back doors’, which grant direct access to and from the flag rooms in each keep
  • The flag rooms of each keep are now always open regardless of who controls the keep

That’s quite a lot of changes! I have included some maps to illustrate the changes and hopefully give you a better idea of what is happening.

You can click on the map to enlarge it. The symbols used denote the following:

Red Squares – the positions of the outposts

Blue Square – the position of Elf Camp

Purple Square – the position of Orc Camp

Orange Squares – the positions of the graveyards

Pink Lines – the positions of the new bridges

Light Blue Lines – terrain that has been smoothed and water than has been made shallower to allow for easier access

General Gameplay Effects

I’ll go into detail on what the changes mean for wargs in the next part, but for now let us consider how these changes might impact gameplay in the more general sense.

The first thing you will notice is that the outposts and graveyards, along with Elf Camp and Orc Camp, are arranged along a diagonal line running from north east to south west. This neatly matches up with the course of the Horahallow River that divides the map.

The positioning of the graveyards is crucial here because they are sure fire ‘traffic drivers’, and by that I mean that wherever the graveyards are there are bound to be players in the vicinity at some point. This means that both the Arador’s End and Isendeep outposts should see a lot more use given that they are now pretty close to a graveyard and by extension the Isendeep Mine itself might see more traffic given its proximity to both the outposts and the graveyard on top of Candy Mountain.

At the other end of the map we see a greater concentration of locations around the general Hoarhallow area. There are now two outposts close to Hoarhallow and the Lumber Camp is only a short jump away. The Lugazag graveyard is also much closer than it used to be. All of this provides a much more concentrated zone of activity than was previously the case.

Tol Ascarnen sits smack in the middle of these two ‘zones of activity’ and will thus still see a lot of players passing through or trying to take control of it of course. This then provides a series of three connected ‘activity zones’ that should hopefully see a better spread of players around the map.

Lugazag and Tirith Rhaw are off to the sides of these ‘zones’, but they will still likely see plenty of action given that they are major keeps. They are also useful for staging attacks into the other zones or as a place to fall back to.

In Part II I’ll be looking at the more warg specific aspects of these map changes.


RoR: Warg Changes

With the beta for RoR almost over and a number of change and additions coming the way of the warg I thought it was about time to present a full on analysis of what we can expect come October.

New Skill – Piercing Claws

Let’s start with what’s brand new … Piercing Claws. This is our new skill and will be earned at rank 9. Even if you are rank 9 or higher at the moment you still have to spend the comms to buy it from the class trainer remember!

The tooltip states that Piercing Claws will hit an opponent for damage equal to 5% of that opponent’s maximum morale. Additionally the damage this skill does cannot be mitigated in way shape or form. Not even Audacity will reduce its damage. That means that this skill WILL hit for 5% of the target’s maximum morale.

It’s important to note that Piercing Claws is a niche skill, it isn’t designed to be useful against all freeps. A freep with 10k morale will only take a hit for 500 damage. A freep with 20k morale on the other hand will take a hit for 1k damage … that’s a hit, not a crit or a dev crit. So Piercing Claws is for use against the likes of survivability specced Guardians Wardens and Champions or really anyone who is morale hoarding.

Note: This skill will not work on NPCs. Awww …

Skill Changes

There have been quite a few changes to our skills in RoR, and I am pleased to say mostly for the better.

Disappear & Sprint

The base cooldowns on both of these skills has been reduced to 5min. This is a really great change as it makes both skills actually useful on a consistent basis without having to trait for reduced cooldowns.

Rallying Howl

Rallying Howl no longer needs to be traited in order to use it! Woohoo! Another great change here and it means that we have our heal at all times without having to use up a very valuable class trait slot.

Howl of the Unnerving

The proc chance on the fear effect has been increased from 25% to 50%. A good change to be sure, but also one that was long overdue. It’s still not a sure fire thing of course, but a 50% chance ups the odds considerably and used in a pack it should be a more useful tool than previously.

Rabid Bite

A pet peeve of mine as the regular reader of this blog will know is how shitty a skill Rabid Bite is. The 25% power cost debuff is crap considering a freep with full Audacity reduces their own power costs by 20% anyway. Thankfully RoR will see the magnitude of this debuff increase from 25% to 40%. It’s still not ideal (a return to our old power drain would be better), but at least now this debuff might actually have some effect. I have a full analysis of the Rabid Bite changes here.

Flayer Stance

We no longer have to trait to use Flayer stance! There will be two forms of Flayer stance: traited and untraited. The untraited version works exactly the same as the traited version except that its bonuses i.e. armour value, mitigations, etc. are lower than the traited version. This is a nice change for wargs who don’t normally trait for Flayer stance anyway, giving them another, albeit reduced in effectiveness, option.

Oh one more thing , the size of the bubble has increased from 300 to … 517. Don’t ask me how they arrived at that number, but an increase is an increase.

Raking Claws Brute Bonus

Now for the bad news … the chance of procing the Raking Claws Brute Bonus in Flayer stance has gone from 100% to 5%. The chance can of course be increased to 25% like all other Brute bonuses using the Brute skill. A not unexpected change, but sad to see it all the same.

Trait Changes

There are a number of trait changes coming with RoR, and again its some good stuff we’re looking at here.

Enhanced Skill: Disappear/Enhanced Skill: Sprint

These two traits remain pretty much the same as they are now except that their cooldown reduction for their respective skills has been reduced from 5min to 2min. That means that when traited Disappear and/or Sprint could be on a 3min cooldown. Personally I’m ambivalent about this change as it really adds very little to the warg’s gameplay. It does generate a good amount of freep Q of course, which I have looked at here.

Enhanced Skill: Rallying Howl

As we now get access to the Rallying Howl heal without having to trait for it this trait has been modified to buff the healing skill. When traited Rallying Howl will not only provide an on-defeat heal it will also give a damage buff of 5% for 10sec. Like the heal this damage buff can stack e.g. four wargs in a pack all use Rallying Howl with the trait slotted and they each gain +20% damage for 10sec (+5% for each warg using it). The effect stacks up to 5 times.

I really love this change because it provides an interesting addition to Rallying Howl beyond it being a healing skill. Rallying Howl was always a bit of a meagre healing skill because it needed to be stacked to be effective and this change takes that weakness and makes something interesting out of it.

Enhanced Skill: Flayer

The traited version of Flayer stance will give Flayer stance the level of protection we have come to expect from it. The untraited version usable by any warg who has purchased the skill will have lower armour and mitigation values than normal. Slotting this trait will increase those values to what we would expect.

Enhanced Skill: Rabid Bite

Like the skill itself the trait has seen its effect increased. It now increases Rabid Bite’s power cost debuff magnitude by 35% on top of the 40% the skill itself provides. That’s a possible total of 75%. I go into more detail on Rabid Bite here.

Miscellaneous

If I haven’t mentioned a specific trait here it’s probably because it isn’t changing in any meaningful way or there is nothing worth noting. Things like Armour Boost etc do the same as they did before except with increased values to reflect the increase in level from 75 to 85.