Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Squig Herder class review

The squig herder is the ranged DPS class for the greenskins. Small and quick, his job is to slip in and lay some hurt on targets. With a squig at his side, the herder can tackle just about anything that gets thrown at him, given he's at the range to plink away with arrers. The class can be compared to in mechanics like the hunter class in daoc or in WoW, but has it's own unique abilities. Without learning how to become one with your squig, you can't unlock the full potential of the Squig Herder.

Squig Herder Masteries
This is your bread and butter line. It deals the most damage, and will be where most Squig Herders spend their points. This line specializes in stationary archery that can hit for big numbers. You'l need some good coordination with your squig as well as getting to know when to use your detaunt ability. You must be mindful however, that you do most of your damage sitting still, so be on the lookout always for any monsters (or players) that may be coming a little to close. The role of someone who specializes in Big Shootin is to pump out Big numbers for damage. In PvP, pick a target that's occupied with something, such as one concentrating on attacking. They'l notice much later that they're being hit than someone who is not engaged in combat. The gas squig from this specline gives a 10% bonus to range. Your primary skills used will be lots o shootin, Poisen Arrer and Plink.

The abilities granted through the Big shootin line are:

  • 3 mastery: Aimin Quickly(tactic)- reduces the cooldown by 1 second on "Plink"

  • 5 mastery: Shrapnel arrer- (2s cast, 10s recast)Hits your target doing X damage then doing Y DoT damage to enemies near the target

  • 7 mastery: I Feelz your pain(tactic)- Critical hits will recover your action points by 50

  • 9 mastery: Poison Arrer- (3s cast, 5s recast)Deals a large amount of corporeal damage to your target

  • 11 mastery: Clever shootin(tactic)- All path of big shootin abilities cost 35% less Action points

  • 13 mastery: Finish em off- Deals a large amount of damage if your target is below 20% health, or a small amount if they are not

  • 15 mastery: Lots of shootin(rank 4 morale)- Deals an extreme amount of damage to all enemy targets near you

The abilities enhanced by mastery in the Big Shootin line are:

  • Exploding Arrer- (2s cast, 10s recast) Does a small amount of damage to your target and those around it, then also hits them with a small DoT

  • Choking Arrer- (1s cast, 30s recast)Deals a small amount of damage and silences your target for 5 seconds.

  • Plink- (2s cast) Deals a moderate amount of damage to your target
    Lots o Arrers- (3s concentrated cast, 7s recast)You concentrate for 3 seconds on your target sending a barrage of arrows at them

  • What Blocka?- (1.5s cast, 5s recast) An undefendable attack which deals a medium amount of damage.

  • Gas Squig

Path of Stabbin'
Despite how the official description may sound, this mastery line has limited use. Squig herders have a low melee damage potential that is improved only moderately by spending mastery points. While melee may work out alright when you're doing pve and fighting some weakened monsters, getting into melee range of a MDPS in PVP means you're going to be eating dirt before know what happened. Squig herders have light armor, but the horned squig provides a 100% armor bonus effectively giving you about the absorbsion of medium armor. It's not a very good idea to engage a tank or mdps, especially if they see you coming. In pve and against light armor classes like the bright wizard, you can tear them up fairly quickly combined with your squig. The horned squig is powerful against melee damage and deals the 2nd highest damage of the squigs. Your squig is absolutely vital to your success, don't sacrifice it carelessly and always keep it by your side as if it's too far away your bonus disappears. You will have a multitude of quick attacks to use and your primary attacks will be Stabbity, cut ya, don't hit me, spin n slash and Drop That.

Path of Quick Shootin
This is the line of the mid range skirmisher. The benefits of this line can be most appreciated for the PvP oriented player. If you're planning to go solo or in a smaller 3-6 man group in pvp, this is the spec for you. This is just an unrivaled spec line for the pvp player. However, for it's great effectiveness in pvp, comes a cost for PvE. This line is not quite as useful in pve as the Big Shootin line, but it can work for group play. The role of someone who specializes in the Quick shootin line is moreso of a harasser than one putting out big damage. Your job is to fling around DoTs and snares as well as damage while you persist as a less deadly, but highly mobile threat. Abilities in this line are mostly instant cast or will continue to build while you are moving. This line is great for chasing down the enemy, as well as snaring enemies so your friends can get away(or so that your enemies can't). The spiked squig does the highest damage of all the pets and will help your damage. The learning curve for this spec is different than your average caster and may take time getting used to the kind of tactics and movement necessary instead of standing still and blasting. The spiked squig gives a 5% bonus to your critical hit rate. Your primary abilities used will be Stop runnin, Yer Bleedin, Run N Shoot and Shoot through ya.

The abilities granted through the Quick Shootin line are:

  • 3 mastery: Splintering arrers(tactic)- Run N Shoot will now hit all enemies within 20 feet of your target

  • 5 mastery: Run Away!-(instant cast, 45s recast) You command your squig to taunt all enemies near you, and knock yourself forward

  • 7 mastery: The Waagh is Strong(tactic)- Increases duration of Yer bleedin to 24s, as well as the durations of Stop runnin and not so fast to 15s

  • 9 mastery: Rotten Arrer- (instant cast, no recast) Deals a large amount of damage to your target over 9 seconds and incoming heals to them are 50% less effective. (usable only on a target that is ailing)

  • 11 mastery: Shootin wif da wind(tactic)- All quick shootin abilities have their range increased by 50%

  • 13 mastery: Behind Ya- (instant cast, 10s recast) You deal a moderate amount of damage to your target and they must be facing away from you

  • 15 mastery: Arrer of Mork- (rank 4 morale) Deals a very large amount of amount of damage to all targets within 40 feet in front of you, then a very large amount of damage over 10 seconds..

The abilities enhanced by mastery in the Quick Shootin line are

  • Stop Runnin: (1s cast, 2s recast)deals a small amount of damage to your target and snares them for 10s. Usable while moving

  • Yer Bleedin: (instant cast)deals a moderate amount of damage over 15s to your target

  • Run N Shoot: (1s cast)Deals a small amount of damage to your target. Usable while moving

  • Not So Fast: (1s cast, 10s recast) Deals a small amount of damage and reduces your target's initiative for 10s. Usable while moving

  • Shoot through ya: (2s cast) deals a moderate amount of damage to all enemies in front of you up to 65 feet away. Usable while moving

  • Spiked Squig

Note about masteries:
Mastery abilities must first be unlocked. A mastery ability like Splintering Arrers has a lv3 requirement. That means you must spend 3 points in the line to unlock it. You must then spend a 4th point to purchase the ability if you choose to. So Effectively if you wanted the Shootin Wif da wind tactic in the Quick shootin line, you must spend 16 points to acquire it if you also purchased all the abilities in the line before it. Hopefully this will clear up confusion for people thinking they should have the ability but it's not on any lists.

I've decided to divide stats into tiers, noting their importance.

Tier 1
Ballistics skill: Nothing is more important than this. This is the sole stat that determines your damage with a bow. Value this over anything else

Wounds: This increases your HP by 10 for each point. It's also important to get this up if you can, as it increases your survivability greatly. One of your top 3 stats.

Elemental resist: Most important magic resist. This will bring down those big number bright wizard attacks

Tier 2
Strength: if you plan to melee, put some points into this, otherwise it's not that important. You will be doing some melee in pve

Toughness: Reduces the amount of melee damage you take. Useful for pve, but if you get hit by melee in RvR you're going to be dead anyway

Initiative: Increases your dodge rate and reduces your chance to be critically hit.

Corporeal: second most important magic resist

Spiritual: third most important magic

Tier 3
Intelligence: You shoot arrers, you don't cast spells. This is a worthless stat.
Willpower: increases chance you'l disrupt a magic attack, and also increases healing amount(we don't heal) this stat isn't really worth pursuing
Weaponskill: this increases armor penetration for melee weapons. You're much better off getting ballistics because it's a lot more beneficial

General PvE Advice
The class in PVE plays similar to a hunter in world of warcraft. This is not to say you're going to have the same experience. It has much different abilities and will still be a refreshing change. As you are leveling up, you'l want to try out every ability in combat for a decent amount of time, even if what you have is working for now. You will often find incorporating this new ability that sounded like it wouldn't be much use will make you much stronger and more effective. Give everything a chance and you will find a skillset that suits your playstyle best. There are a very large number of abilties, and you'l be swamped with trying to pick out the ones you like best or will use the most so it's important to go into the UI tab and make 2 action bars available. Between the 2, you should be able to fit everything you're going to be using on them.

Now, for quite possibly the most important thing for Pve. Gathering skills. Training up skills costs money, and a lot at that. You're going to be very poor while leveling and will find it hard to just keep up with skills. This is why you need to get a gathering skill. I personally reccomend the Scavenging skill. What it does is it allows you to scavenge and loot the bodies a second time of a sentient monster. Sentient meaning something that has at least some limited thought or self awareness like a human, dwarf or troll. A majority of the monsters you will be fighting will fall under this category. Items gained through scavenging however, are not normal loot items, but instead crafting materials. That doesn't mean however that they won't sell to vendors and give you a bit of extra cash. Bodies can only be scavenged after they've been fully looted. You can identify bodies that can be scavenged because they will have flies buzzing around them. You can also scavenge bodies that don't belong to you. It is impolite to do so if someone is also scavenging themselves, but if they aren't, then it's fair game. A good way to get this skill raised is in public quests where large amounts of monsters are being killed. You can first aquire a gathering skill In the second town along the road you will find from your starting area with your starting town being the first. This will be home of the Chapter 2 public quests. keep in mind, that if your scavenging skill isn't kept up to date, you won't be able to scavenge the higher level monsters.

Overall, PVE works the way you want it to. Experiment with your abilities with trying different combinations or casting orders and you'l be fine. You won't start getting master points until rank 11 and by that time you should have a good idea of what kind of squig herder you'd like to be.

General RvR Advice
Playing a squig herder can be a lot of fun, especially chasing down someone for that kill or inching just a bit closer to be able to shoot at that bright wizard. Because of this, people tend to get focused and lose sight of your surroundings. This is an often fatal mistake. Often people are trying to flank you from the side, so make sure you're always panning the camera with your mouse to identify threats that may be coming. It's also a good idea to keep in mind that just because you can't see anyone, doesn't mean there isn't someone there. Witch Hunters have the ability to stealth and love to position themselves to hide in the spots casters are most likely to sneak up on. A Witch hunter will almost always wait for the right moment and catch you off guard while you are busy fighting. They will tear you up generally before you get the chance to react. Squig herders are also a favorite target of Empire casters, and likewise they should also be your favorite target. This is why it's very important to be watching your own health bar as well as your enemy's. Sneaking up a couple of feet will likely spark some bright wizards or engineers to sneak up a bit and focus their fire on you rather than the tank you're standing next to. Be aware of the movement of your enemy's front line. If you see a caster moving towards you... assume it's you that they want to kill.

Many people view the squig herder as an easy kill because you are a Ranged DPS type. So it's important to be paranoid and assume that everyone is out to get you. Pre kiting is a vital skill that will often save your life. If you see a tank running in your direction, Pop off a Stop Runnin shot and run a bit away. Often, this will trigger the tank/MDPS into thinking you have no intention of fighting and they likely won't catch you. So they will turn their attention to whatever may be closest to them at the time, which often can be another tank. Don't wait for them to get to you and start hitting for you to decide you want to keep your distance as this will often lead to you eating dirt. Even if they're hitting someone else near you like a marauder, if you're close, they may decide that you're an easier target and turn their aggression to you. It's best to try and keep a distance of around 70-80 feet between your enemies, in particular if you're spec is Big shooting. You want a bit of an extra buffer for some extra shots when your target decides to start running away, as well as to give you some space to pre-kite.

A squig herder is a fun and interactive class. There are many different ways to play one and all of them provide a unique experience.

Just keep an open mind while staying hidden and keeping on eye on your surroundings and you should be successful with whatever you do.

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