Howl of Unnerving
Howl of Unnerving has been around for a long time, and over the course of the history of the game it has changed quite a bit. Older wargs will remember that it was a pretty poor skill back in the day, but thankfully for wargs everywhere it is a pretty useful weapon in our arsenal these days. Whilst useful it is also a skill that can be a little tricky to use properly so hopefully tis guide will clear up any questions you may have concerning this skill.
What Is Howl of Unnerving?
It’s an AOE debuff skill that places a relatively weak b/p/e debuff on four nearby freeps (range is 10m) as well as having a 50% chance to place a 5 sec fear on each of them. It’s usable whilst moving and crucially it can be used from stealth without breaking stealth!
To use Howl of Unnerving you either need to be rank 9 or buy it from the store. It’s actually a racial trait, not an active skill, but when the trait is slotted it grants you access to the skill.
Is It Effective?
That’s a really good question and also one that’s fairly easy to answer: yes. There are two components to the skill, the b/p/e debuff and the fear, so let’s look at each one in turn.
Now the tooltip b/p/e debuff might not sound like a huge amount, but it equates to approximately -2% for each of those ratings. That’s not a bad debuff, especially as it affects up to 4 targets. It gets better though because Howl of Unnerving stacks between several wargs. That’s where the real usefulness of the debuff comes in, stacking it.
In 1vs1 fights you probably won’t notice the debuff having much effect to be honest. When you are able to stack the debuff though it can be a very useful tool for helping to punch through a freep’s defences. It’s especially useful when stacked during group or raid fights. The stacking debuff can help your side wear down the freeps and it means wargs can contribute a little more to a fight beyond just dps.
The fear is the strongest aspect of this skill because not only does it represent our only fear, it is also incredibly useful. The fear has a 50% chance to proc and can affect up to four targets within a 10m range and lasts for 5sec. Now 50% may not sound like a very high chance, but with the possibility of affecting up to four targets the odds are that at least one of them will be feared.
The fear is probably most useful when used in group or raid fights in an effort to disrupt the enemy. This is especially true when used against targets that would normally be able to block our disruption attempts such as Lore-masters being immune to our stuns or Minstrels making themselves immune to our silences. There is no immunity to fears and as such this can be a very handy tool for putting a spanner in the works of whatever it is the freeps are trying to do.
The fear can be useful in 1vs1 situations too, but because it is not guaranteed to proc I would not recommend making it part of your standard rotation where you are relying on it to work. Instead save it for when you are out of other options, if it procs it might just turn the fight around for you.
One last point is that the fear will knock freeps off their horses. This can be useful if the freep is just out of your melee range because Howl of Unnerving has a 10m range.
How Do I Use It?
There are two main situations where you will want to use Howl of Unnerving; solo and when in a group/raid.
When fighting a freep 1vs1 you can use Howl of Unnerving in two ways, at the start of the fight and then in the middle. Since the skill doesn’t break stealth it can make for a nice opening move ahead of Sudden Pounce. Of course using it like this gives the game away that you are near, but assuming you attack afterwards that shouldn’t be a problem.
With a 1minute cooldown it isn’t a skill that you can spam. Rather I would suggest saving this skill for when everything else has failed. It might just be enough to help you regain the advantage.
The key here is stacking. If you are in a pack this is pretty easy (assuming the other wargs also have Howl of Unnerving), but in a raid there may not be too many other wargs around. Stacking the debuff from Howl of Unnerving will obviously mean that the target(s) will be taking more damage as they block, parry and evade fewer attacks. However, multiple uses by multiple wargs also increases the chance that the target(s) will be feared too.
In a raid setting this can prove a really effective disruption tool. Because the skill is usable whilst moving wargs can strafe through the back of the freep raid using Howl of Unnerving and hopefully fear a few freeps. Since the freep healers tend to hang around at the back this can prove very helpful in reducing the freeps healing output.
In a pack facing a group of freeps it can again prove highly useful for its disruptive capabilities. The more wargs that use it the higher the debuff stacks and the more chance there is of fearing the freeps. Wargs can often be at a disadvantage when facing a group of freeps on their because our skill set is pretty limited, but being able to fear a few of them helps to address that imbalance and keep a couple of them out of the fight, even if only for a few seconds.
Howl of Unnerving does have its drawbacks, as you might expect. Chief amongst these is that it requires a trait slot to use. There isn’t anything you can do about this, you simply have to decide which other trait you can do without in order to slot Howl of Unnerving.
Another issue is that the skill has an animation that plays out when it’s being used. It’s not an overly long animation, but it does disrupt your rotation a little. However, like Flayer stance the animation can be broken by using Eye Rake, which is an ‘immediate’ skill.
Speaking of Flayer stance I would offer the same advice I gave when discussing that skill: don’t rely on this skill as a sure fire thing. The fear only has a 50% chance of working and it only lasts 5 sec when it does work. You’re not going to be keeping a freep locked down and out of a fight with this skill so don’t view it as such.