woensdag 12 november 2014

Loremaster Skills: Flanking

Recently I grouped with several Loremasters on the US Brandywine Server. Interesting fact of all these interesting fellowships was that many Loremasters where unaware of the flanking bonus that 3 skills can give you. They even didn't know for sure what flanking was. By some Loremasters, other skills where also virtually unexplored. So I decided today to construct a page with information about some useful Loremaster skills. Btw I am absolutely no expert Loremaster, so if you see some weird advice, or if you miss some special skills or skill combos, please feel free to comment.

Flanking is an enemy's state which is invoked by an attack of the loremaster's combat pet. When flanking happens, your pet opens up three special maneuvers for your Loremaster. In game terms: the loremaster can take advantage of the flanking effect by using 3 types of skills:
  1. Get a damage bonus by using the skill Staff-strike (or Improved Staff-strike) on the enemy
  2. Get a morale bonus by using Sign of the Battle: Wizard's Fire on enemy (or Improved Sign of Battle Wizard's Fire)
  3. Get a power bonus from using the skill Staff-sweep on the enemy (or Improved Staff-sweep).
So, basically, you can get a power, damage or morale bonus when using a skill when an opponent is flanked by your pet. But remember the following things:
  • Only combat-pets can invoke flanking: flanking will only occur when using a combat-pet; so without a pet, or with a cosmetic pet, your opponent will not be flanked.
  • Know when your opponent is flanked: be sure to recognise when an opponent is flanked, and know which skill you must use to get the appropriate bonus type.
  • Know your flanking bonus skills: know which skill you want to use to get the flanking bonus, otherwise you are too late to take advantage of the flanking bonus.
  • Be quick: the flanking duration is only 7 seconds!
  • Know your flanking chance: the chance of getting a flanked opponent depends on the type of combat pet you use. For example, the lynx doesn't invoke many flanks, while the eagle and the bog guardian will give you many flank opportunities!

Know when your opponent is flanked
When a combat-pet is attacking an opponent, you will sometimes hear a 'chime' sound, which means that your pet has flanked an enemy! At first its a bit difficult te recognise the sound, but if you look closely to the small icons beneath the power bar of the enemy, you will see also the flanking icon. That icon has the shape of an open mouth (see the illustrations below!). The icon and the chime-sound are the best ways to know when your pet has flanked an opponent. 

If you look closely to your opponent, you will also see a couple of pink arrows on the attacked enemy when flanked (see the picture below). I have to admit that these arrows are a bit difficult to see, and it's only possible to see them when you enable the “Particle Effects” option (Menu-> Options-> Combat Options).  If you have a slow PC, its better to learn the chime sound and to recognise the flanking icon below the pet's target.

When your pet attacks an enemy, look closely at the small icons below the monster's power bar (blue bar)
You can drag your mouse pointer above the icon, and a tooltip will appear. If you read the tooltip, you will learn that this icon is a specific enemy stance, and that the enemy is not flanked (until now...).

If you pet has flanked an enemy, three things will happen simultanously: 1) you hear a chime sound, 2) you will see a flanking icon below the enemies power bar, 3) you will see pink arrows around your enemy.
When your opponent is flanked by your pet, you will see a screaming mouth icon. use your mouse pounter to read the tooltip (although it's wiser to use a skill to get the flanked bonus, since the flank effect will only last 7 seconds!).

Know your flanking bonus skills
When your pet has flanked an enemy, the Lore-master has 3 options to take advantage of that state:
  • Use (Improved) Staff Strike, it can do double the damage. Remember this is a melee skill and that you have to run to your flanked enemy and hit him with the staff. It may be not so wise to do it when it is a boss has lots of morale, since he can hit you when you are standing close to him, in stead of your pet (use always your pet as a tank!).
  • Use Sign of Battle: (Improved) Wizard’s Fire, and heal yourself for a small amount. The heal usually amounts to a morale-pot at the same level. This heal can crit and give you up to two times its normal morale heal bonus. This is a very usefull skill, since it is ranged and will not aggro a boss to attack you. Use this one a lot when attacking a high morale enemy. You can also heal your pet, so it will not die quickly while attacking an flanking an enemy.
  • Use (Improved) Staff Sweep: you will get a power over time buff. Remember this is also a melee skill, so you have to go near to your enemy. If it is a high morale enemy, be sure to retreat after getting the bonus and let your pet tank the opponent. If there are 2 or more opponents, remember that staff strike will hit multiple targets (AoE skill!), and that there is a chance that a monster will attack you after using this skill (instead of others or the pet)
3 skills will give you a bonus when your pet has flanked an enemy. read them carefully to choose the best bonus you want. The bonuses are outlined in a yellow box. So, if you need morale, use Wizards Fire, if you want to do extra damage use Staff strike, if you need more Power, use Staff-sweep.

Be quick!
The flanked effect lasts only 7 seconds, so be quick to use the appropriate skill to take full advantage of the flanking effect. After you have used one of skills which give you a flanking bonus (see above), the flanked state of the enemy is terminated. You have to wait until the enemy is flanked again.

Be quick: the duration of a flanked enemy is only 7 seconds!

Know your flanking chance
The flanked state is not a skill you can use, but it is a chance of happening depending on the attacks of your pet. So, the faster a pet attacks, the more chances you will get for a flanked enemy! The flanking chance depends also by the type of pet you will use. Some pets will flank more often than others. So, if you want to take full opportunity of the flanking bonus, know your pet flanking chance. Below is a list of pets which flank the most:
  • Bog-guardian: a pet that can flank a lot and has also ranged attacks. Most of the time it will flank your opponent, but sometimes it seems a bit unpredictable and it will not flank an enemy until the next encounter.
  • Eagle: the eagle is by most players known as the most reliable flanker. It usually flanks once every 15 to 20 seconds. It is a very safe pet if you want attack a powerful enemy, to take full advantage of the constant bonus heals you can get bu using Wizards Fire on the flanke enemy.
  • Raven: like the bog-gardian and the eagle, the raven flanks most often. However, be sure to attack the foe and don't use a pet-skill that doesn't attack the enemy.
  • Lynx and Sabre-tooth: both cats have the same flank chance, but they don't flank very often. Although the lynx can cause huge damage when he does a surprise attack, its total damage on a high morale enemy (signature, elite or nemesis enemy) is lower then the total damage of the higher chance flankers like the bog-guardian. I dont use these pets anymore when attacking enemies with hig morale or bosses.
  • Bear: the bear has the lowest flanking chance, so don't use it if you want to have full opportunity of the flanking bonuses.
  • Spirit: a spirit is a healing pet, not an attacking pet. It can give you only a flanking bonus  by using the combat-pet skill: Flashing Flank. Using this spirit pet-skill will cause always a flank event; however the cooldown is 45 seconds. Many pets will flank at the same rate or more often, without having to use a skill for it. The only advantage of this skill is that you can choose yourself when you want a flank on an enemy.

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