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

Archive for October, 2012

Trash Talk

Trash talk is part and parcel of PvP, but if you’re going to do it do it right. Otherwise you end coming off sounding like an idiot or just nerd raging (or both). Today I came across this gem:

You want to dance? Let’s dance!

Admittedly it has some savoir faire to it, but it’s more at home in a 30’s gangster film.


Best?

I was asked who I consider to be the best warg on my server and whilst it seems to be a fairly straightforward question at first glance it actually proved incredibly difficult to answer. It got me thinking too, what exactly defines ‘best’? I ended up considering the question for quite a while and I thought I might share my reflections with you here.

Best?

It sounds like such a simple thing to answer: who is the best? What does ‘best’ mean though? Is it the player that gets the most kills? The most killing blows? Perhaps the player with the highest rating? What about the player that dies the least? Or the player that wins more 1vs1 fights than anyone else? As you can see there are a multitude of criteria one can use to define ‘best’.

Perhaps it is better to say that such and such a player is the best at one particular thing? That’s a bit of a cop-out answer though. It still doesn’t answer the question of who is actually the best overall. I thought that maybe I could say the best player was the person who managed to combine all the various criteria and achieve success in them all. He might not be the best at each individual thing, but overall he would be able to combine them all into one package and achieve more success than anyone else. Again that feels like fudging the question.

Bragging

If it proved difficult to decide on ‘the best’ the opposite was a lot easier. Spotting poor players is relatively easy. Now I don’t mean new players, those learning the ropes, because they aren’t poor players, they are simply learning. There is a difference. A poor player is someone who knows what to do, or at least should know, but consistently fucks it up.

I have found over the years that the surest way of spotting a bad player is to watch for people bragging. The loudest are usually the worst. Not always, but it’s a general rule of thumb that seems to hold true for the most part. There are many players who can talk the talk, but they’re writing cheques their butts can’t cash.

That though leads me back to the best players. Whilst I have found that the loudest shouts come from those with next to no ability the reverse seems to be true as well. Those who stay quiet and don’t get in your face every time they kill you, for the most part, seem to be relatively good players.

There Is No Spoon

I am still no closer to answering the question of who is best. I’m not even any closer to working out how to answer the question. It is almost paradoxical in nature; on the one hand it can be said to be subjective as people have their own opinions on who is and isn’t good, but at the same time one can use quantifiable measurements such as kills, etc to say that someone is successful.

Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated. As always the comments section is open.


Map of the Delving of Fror

RoR brought with it a number of changes to the Ettenmoors, but it also brought about some changes to what’s underneath the Ettenmoors too! Now each of the outposts can be used to access the Delving of Fror, along with both EC and OC and of course the two traditional access points at Ost Ringdyr and Dar Gazag. For those of you who may be getting a little confused by the new layout and access points down there in the Delving you are in luck! Thurindos from the official forums has knocked together this map of the new Delving!


Did RoR Screw Wargs?

There have been some interesting discussions on the official forums since RoR launched as to whether wargs are better or worse off than they were in the ROI days. I’ve been following the discussions and even contributed, but those threads aren’t really the place to lay things out properly for me so I’m going to do that here.

What’s The Problem?

Good question! As far as I can tell the main gripe for some people is that wargs’ damage output hasn’t gone up very much in comparison with the damage increase seen by both freeps and other creeps. Added to that is a perception that wargs didn’t really gain much in the way of new toys compared with other classes.

Both are valid points. Wargs saw a relatively modest increase in their damage output with RoR whereas Reavers got a fairly hefty bump. So too wargs received one new skill and no dramatic revisions to existing skills and traits like Weavers did.

So are wargs screwed?

No

The basically sums up my position, but I suppose you will be looking for an explanation so here it is.

Damage

Wargs might not have received a huge boost in damage, but the fact is that our damage output is actually pretty decent at the moment. In fact wargs, as a class, are very near the top of the creep DPS chart. Reavers did get a big boost to their damage, but they needed that considering how shit their damage output was in ROI.

A warg can still output the damage needed to bring down a freep and that’s what counts. I saw one comment mentioning that when sparring a Reaver a warg couldn’t punch through their self-heals. Er … that’s a spar, doesn’t count for jack shit and why are we even talking about that?

I think part of the misconception in this area arises from the fact that in ROI wargs were head and shoulders above the other creep classes in terms of damage output. There isn’t that same divide now that Reavers are packing a punch. That doesn’t mean we are no longer capable, just that Reavers have stepped up to the bar at long last.

Skills & Traits

The skills and traits front is equally no picture of doom and gloom. There wasn’t a whole lot that wargs actually needed in terms of new abilities, but even so we did still get one: Piercing Claws. I think it’s a pretty decent skill, not mind blowing stuff granted, but a useful addition to our arsenal nonetheless. You can read my thoughts on it here.

Traits is actually an area where we fared really well. The reduction in the base cooldown of both Disappear and Sprint to 5min means we can ditch the enhancement traits for those two skills if we want. That alone is worth the admission price because it opens up two previously locked down class trait slots for us. That’s two whole class trait slots we get to use, not as we need to, but as we want to.

In addition to freeing up trait slots we also came away with a really nice little boost to Rallying Howl. Not only do we now have a heal without having to use up a trait slot, but the traited version increases our damage!

These might not be ‘glamorous’ changes in the way Reavers went from having the shit kicked out of them to actually doing the shit kicking, but they are nevertheless solid changes.

 

Solo Still Flies

I see nothing in the RoR changes for wargs that makes me think I will no longer be able to viably play solo. If anything my ability to play solo has been enhanced through opening up trait slots, boosts to skills and landscape changes.

Now you might be thinking “That’s all very fine and well for you sitting there at rank 12, but what about lower ranked wargs?” Well what about them? If they are having a hard time playing solo then they should do what just about every other warg has ever done … join a pack and gank some freeps! That’s how we did it in the ‘olden days’ of SoA when playing as a solo creep was tantamount to a death sentence.

In short wargs have everything they need to be successful in solo play, and more besides. Some classes may be tougher to beat now, others maybe easier, and maybe some will be as easy as ever (Hunters I’m looking at you). Wargs aren’t screwed, it’s wargs that do the screwing!


Graveyard Camping 101

So young pup you want to learn about the ancient art of graveyard camping …?

As any warg worth his salt knows graveyards are an excellent place to do some killing. These are spots that are guaranteed to see freep activity at some point as players retreat and try to get back into the fight. However, the key to successful graveyard camping is not just killing your opponent, it’s about how and when you do the killing.

Graveyards?

I will assume that you are as fresh faced as fresh faced can be so let’s start by briefly looking at what a graveyard is.

The Ettenmoors has two graveyards: one located north of Tirith Rhaw and one located a little north of the River Outpost. These graveyards are what are commonly called ‘rez circles’, ‘spawn points’, etc in other games. In LOTRO the most common terms seems to be graveyard. They are the locations you end up if you are defeated in PvMP and retreat (spawn) your character.

Both of the graveyards are linked to one of the keeps in the Ettenmoors. graveyard to the north of Tirith Rhaw is linked to that keep and its defenders will be of the same faction as currently controls the keep. The same is true of the graveyard near River Outpost except that it is linked with Lugazag. Thus we get the common names ‘TR Graveyard’ and ‘Lug Graveyard’ or ‘TR GY’ and ‘Lug GY’ to denote these two graveyards.

When Lugazag or Tirith Rhaw are captured by the opposing team the corresponding graveyard falls under the control of that team and only players of that faction can respawn at that graveyard. Each graveyard is protected by powerful NPCs from the controlling faction that will kill any opposing faction player with one shot. Thus it isn’t possible for you to get inside the opposing faction’s graveyard to kill players there.

Camping

Because the guarding NPCs (the ‘One Shotters’) prevent you from getting inside the graveyard itself to kill freeps you have to maintain a safe distance. The one shotters can kill you from 40m away so all your graveyard activity must be kept further away than this.

Below I have outlined a basic strategy for camping a graveyard.

How It’s Done

There are three basic ingredients for a successful graveyard camp: i) positioning ii) situational awareness and iii) timing.

Positioning – You need to make sure that you are positioned far enough away from a graveyard that the freep can’t just quickly run back to the safety of the one shotter NPCs, but at the same time you don’t want to be so far away that you risk miss freeps leaving the graveyard. I would suggest around 100-200m away from the graveyard itself.

Situational Awareness – Graveyards are busy places and that one freep you spot riding out can quickly be joined by more. Make sure that you have a good sense of what is going on around you before you attack so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.

Timing – The goal is to kill fast and re-stealth as quickly as possible to maximise your time at the graveyard. Don’t hang around to gloat after a kill, there will be plenty of time for that later. Once word gets out that you are in the vicinity of the graveyard chances are some freeps will show up to try and hunt you down. That means that you have to be efficient in your killing. It also means that you need to know when to get out of there. The longest I would suggest spending at any one graveyard is around 10 minutes. You can always come back later once the heat dies down.

It’s a simple procedure of rinse and repeat:

  • Park yourself in a good position at a safe distance from the graveyard that still let’s you see who is coming in and out of it
  • Keep an eye out around you to make sure that what you think is a lone target really is alone
  • Go all out for the kill. The freep needs to die ASAP and as soon as he does get back in stealth and resume your position.
  • If the freep looks like he can make it back to the one shotter NPCs alive let him go. Don’t chase too far or you will get killed yourself.
  • Don’t get distracted by talking in OOC, replying to tells, etc. You will only be here for 10-15 minutes probably so stay focused.
  • If more freeps turn up it’s time to exit.

When To Camp

Graveyards are good spots for wargs to prowl around in general, but some times are better than others and recognising those can significantly increase your tally of kills.

Raid vs Raid – If there is raid vs raid action taking place, especially at a keep then you have one of two choices: stick around the fight and try to pick off stragglers at the side of the freep raid or hotfoot it to the freep graveyard to try and catch anyone retreating and going back to the fight. This can be a really lucrative time for a warg because a raid vs raid fight can produce a steady stream of freeps leaving the graveyard in ones and twos.

Local Kills – Another good occasion is when you kill someone in the general vicinity of the graveyard. When he retreats he will end up at the graveyard and he is going to have to leave at some point! This can be a nice little two for one situation; you initially send him to the graveyard and then get up there yourself to get him on the way back.

Communication – If your server has a warg only chat channel then this can be used a great indicator of when you should head towards the graveyard. If you let each other know when you have just killed a freep somewhere on the map the other wargs can home in on the graveyard the freep is likely to have retreated to to kill him as he leaves. Better your brothers get a kill than a freep gets away!

Things To Remember

There are one shotter NPCs with 40m. Do NOT get into a pissing contest with a ranged class at a graveyard. You will loose.

If a freep is trying to get back to the graveyard and looks like he might make it let him go. Don’t be greedy. Chasing a freep too close to the one shotters will just get you killed and the freep will probably get renown out of it. Better to let the freep go and choose a better target.

Don’t hem freeps in. Remember you want freeps to think they can get out so you can kill them. If freeps feel that they are trapped at the graveyard they will just map out, which means no kills for you. Back off a bit and maybe let one or two pass so the rest think the path is clear.

Know when to quit. If freeps start pouring in then don’t hang around, you’ve been rumbled and they will be looking to kill you. Go do something else for a bit until they realise you are no longer there and leave.

QQ

I would be remiss if I wrote a guide on how best to camp graveyards and didn’t mention QQ. In short freeps are going to whine at you for camping graveyards. Yes I know they whine at wargs for everything, but graveyard camping seems to be especially unpopular amongst freeps. My advice, as usual, is to ignore it.

Freeps don’t like being camped at graveyards. The short answer to that is … tough shit.

The long answer, which of course you are under no obligation to provide them, is that camping a graveyard is as valid a strategy as any other. It has consistently proven effective over the years in terms of getting wargs kills. What’s not to like about that? It’s a strategy fully accredited and approved by the Association of Warg Campers and Gankers!

At any rate you are probably going to see the usual stable of pathetic insults rolled out e.g. you’re lame, you’re an ezymoder, you’re crap because you ‘have’ to camp the GY (rather than it being a choice as it’s an effective tactic). This is all in place of the freep getting a group together to hunt you down of course because whining like a little bitch is obviously easier.

The best response, as always, is to ignore them … well that and to keep killing them of course.

 

Special thanks go to my good friend Cazikee, the best damned graveyard camper on Laurelin, even if he is a freep!


Landscape Guides

A while ago I added a section to the site called ‘Patrols’. This was supposed to be a collection of guides on the best places for wargs to look for kills. The thing is I never really got around to finishing all the articles and with the landscape changes RoR brought in the guides that are there are obsolete. With that in mind I decided to start from scratch and work on a new set of landscape guides.

These new guides will focus more on the practical aspects of how to best use the landscape to your advantage. It’s still early days for RoR so how the new landscape will play out remains to be seen. As such don’t expect to see too many of these guides appearing right away. It will take time to find out how the flow of play is going to be directed.


The DPS Build

When considering how to trait for a build that will give the maximum amount of DPS possible it should be obvious that such a build will be built around the use of Shadow stance. Flayer stance simply can’t match the raw damage output of Shadow stance so this build will assume that you will be using Shadow stance.

Corruptions

This can go one of two ways depending upon just how much damage you want to do. If you are fully committed to DPS and don’t mind being squishy then you will want to slot in four Mastery corruptions and Damage for Power and Damage for Morale, both rank 2. If you want to give yourself a little more morale you can substitute another Mastery for Damage for Morale rank 2 or even slot in Morale for Power rank 2. The difference between those options won’t be huge to be honest and I personally favour going with the all out damage approach. If you are going to be squishy you might as well get the most bang for your buck!

  1. Mastery
  2. Mastery
  3. Mastery
  4. Mastery
  5. Damage for Power Rank 2
  6. Damage for Morale Rank 2 / Mastery / Morale for Power Rank 2

Racial Traits

Pack Alpha is the obvious choice here since it gives a solid boost to our offensive capabilities. Foe of the Light is another must have since it increases our stealth rating. The rest are pretty much par for the course given that we don’t have much in the way of choice when it comes to racial traits. I’d suggest Four Legged Foe for the run-speed increase; Pack Hunters for the mitigations debuff and Howl of the unnerving for the fear.

  1. Pack Alpha
  2. Foe of the Light
  3. Four Legged Foe
  4. Pack Hunters
  5. Howl of the Unnerving

Class Traits

This is the point where we get a bit more choice, but let’s start with the must have traits first. Enhanced Skill: Stealth and Shadow Fang are both essential so just slot them and let’s move on. Element of Surprise is a great offensive trait to have since it will significantly enhance our damage output. We now have four trait slots to fill and a few decent options to fill them with. Long Strides is a good choice because the extra run speed helps prevent kiting, which is great for an offensive build. Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake can be useful too. The cooldown reduction on our best interrupt is superb, not just for interrupting freeps, but also for cutting shot our longer animations. Armour Boost can be useful too to provide at least a little survivability in this build. Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey is a good choice for the last slot to enable us to track down targets.

  1. Enhanced Skill: Stealth
  2. Shadow Fang
  3. Element of Surprise
  4. Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake
  5. Long Strides
  6. Armour Boost
  7. Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey

Effectiveness

You will be doing as much damage as it is possible for a warg to do with this build. However, you will also have little survivability once in a fight. This build is probably best for pack play as well as sniping at the edge of larger fights between raids, etc. Having said that it can be a good solo build if you are skilled enough to pull it off. I wouldn’t really recommend this sort of build for new pups, a mixed build would be better for them to get the hang of the different aspects of warg gameplay.

This probably isn’t a great choice for use against the heavier classes like Champions. It should be a pretty good choice against lighter classes and the likes of Hunters though. The sheer raw damage output will be able to overwhelm lighter classes without too much morale before they can respond. You can probably take off anywhere between 30-50% of their morale in the initial stun with this build.