A guide

Tour-GuideI posted this write-up on my guilds forums, and then in response to someone’s request for advice on the official forums. I think there are 3 players who have stuck with their SW in my guild, and they’re both scout, so this applied to them as much as directions on how to knit would. On the forums, a mod gave me the perverbial “good game” ass-slap, so I figured I’d fianlly put this up for all the world to see. After all, this is a Shadow Warrior-centric site, right? In any matter, I hope that if there are any Shadow Warriors who come through here, looking for general advice on how to play as what I think is the most fun style in the game, that this little diatribe of mine will help shed some understanding on how we work.

Shadow Warrior – Skirmish

The three different trees of the Shadow Warrior all have vastly different play-styles. Scout and Skirmish play almost nothing alike, and Assault is virtually a third class unto itself. Seeing as how I prefer to play as skirmish, I’ll try my hand at providing the best information I can on how to kill and still survive in this build.

For those wondering this is my current build.
However, if I have a WP in my group who can give me the wounds buff, I’ll swap out Steady Aim for Centuries of training. The reason for this is that I can drop my 100 wounds/3% crit liniment (doesn’t stack) for the 100 BS/3% crit liniment.

(btw, is there no way on these boards to make a hyperlink via a word?)

Early on in life as a skirmish SW, you’ll probably find that running around in assault stance to be your best option in terms of survivability. If that’s the case, I would suggest dropping Barrage and Flanking shot, and putting the points into Swift Strikes. This will allow you a tad more flexibility since switching stances is a major hindrance on the battle field, and should be done only when tactically necessary. Being in assault stance, you still have access to the majority of your “core” skirmish abilities, and should give you the wiggle room of defense until you can get the gear (or healer love) to survive longer.

I currently sit in 3 dark promise pieces, and 3 invader pieces. I am around 925 ballistic skill, 300-some weapon skill (whatever is ~30% armor penetration), about 300 toughness, base wounds of 623, and all of my skirmish abilities have a 40% base chance to crit. As skirmish, pushing your BS to the absolute cap is unnecessary, that’s better left to the purview of the Scout specialization. You’ll most likely be running around 45′ away from the enemy, close enough to almost be giving them a hug and a pinch, so you’re going to want to have significantly more survival stats. So keep this in mind when choosing gear/talismans/renown abilites/etc.

Now, onto the actual play.

We need to pick our target carefully. We don’t have the insane damage potential of Bright Wizards or Witch Hunters, and we don’t have near the distance of Engineers, or the CC breakers of the other MDPS careers, so maximizing our potential is vitally important. Choose squishies. I have a soft spot in my heart for shamans, zealots, and sorceresses. Healers are always vital to kill, and can be a tide changing blow if you put them out of commission, and as we all know, pits of shades suck, and the less purple puddles out there, the happier everyone else is. After those three targets, I tend to choose DoKs, Magi, SH, Choppa, WE.

Getting to the targets alive and kicking presents a challenge in itself and helps to highlight rule #1 of the skirmisher, “Always be moving!”. I tend to sweep wide to the flank, and try to stay out of the attention of the Tanks, and MDPS that form the front of the enemy. All those healers and long range dps classes (wisely) like to sit in the back, thinking themselves safe from harm. I use the tilde (~) key as my enemy target cycle, and the tab key as my nearest enemy target, this lets me quickly find a victim of my choosing (having the “pure” addon helps with this too, as it spells out every targets class). For means of explanation, lets pretend I have found a nice squishy shaman, on the outskirts of the back line. With the target firmly in sight, it’s necessary to commit to the kill, stay moving, and strike fast, as Sun Tzu said “War is speed”.

It’s been my practice, that the best way to score kills on a healer or at least make them stop healing the front lines, is to use the following chain of skills on them:

Barrage or Lileath’s Arrow [LA] as you charge in (both are conical/cylinder and don’t require range to start the build time) > Broadhead Arrow [BHA] > Shadow Sting [SS] > Eye Shot > Flanking Shot [FS] > Vengence of Nagarythe [VoN] > Takedown > BHA > SS > Steady Aim > Unshakeable Focus [UF]  > Spiral Fletched Arrow [SFA]

Opening with Barrage or LA is important as it provides a good burst opener, and quickly getting SS on a healer is the single most important task to killing them. Stopping 50% of the healing on them is the difference between living and losing. Eye Shot will lower their initiative (more crits!), does the same damage as SFA, and costs less AP. FS should hopefully still be easily used on them from behind but if not, don’t sweat it. Useing the VoN + Takedown combo means they will be stunned for the next three seconds, unable to heal themselves or run away. Reapply the two dots, use steady aim to make SURE everything crits, and if able, use UF to make them have a very bad day, finish it off with SFA spam. Then depending on the situation, high tail it out of there, or go to the next squishy. Just remember, serpents sting is pretty much accepted to be one of the most vital abilities in a Shadow Warriors arsenal. I have never read of a single SW anywhere not taking it, because it is that good. Insta-cast, big damage, and -50% heals is crazy good. Every target you go after should have this up on them at all times.

Once you are feeling more confident in your abilities, and don’t think you will make yourself go stanceless (probably the biggest bug affecting us right now), feel free to experiment with switching into assault stance at the beginning and opening up with an Acid Arrow, or changing over to Scout for Throat Shot (5 second silence). This can be very hard to do, and it means getting extra GCD that can screw with your rotation, and leave you stuck out of skirmish for 5 seconds, but sometimes it’s worth it for the extra damage it can buy you. Also, don’t forget our detaunt is ranged! When fighting RDPS, dropping all our dots (including Draw Blood) and then detaunting often means that we can destroy the enemy while they vainly try to blow us up.

We are also excellent at playing back line defenders, helping to protect our own squishies from daring WE’s and other healer-killers. When I’m playing defense, I tend to stay in assault, as Opportunistic Strike (our 5 second disarm) is vital to making sure we can stop any physical DPS from harassing our healers. We are a severely underrated class, and most all destro doesn’t expect us to actually pose a threat, thus we get ignored. This plays in our favor, and it means that intrepid WE that is trying to stick a dagger in Illuvatar’s chest will be dead before they can, “Why are my hotbars all grey?”.

This class requires the most situational awareness of any of the other classes I have played. Constant movement will be your first key to survival. Wisely choosing targets will mean accomplishing your goal. Getting off the combos needed, in the correct order, can mean the difference between success and failure. I’m not saying that this is the official way to always kill the enemy, but it’s what I’ve found works for me almost all the time. Some things may change from target to target, but the deviation tends to be minor. This class is honestly the most fun I have ever had in an MMO, the run & gun aspect of skirmish is immensely gratifying, and literally running circles around the enemy is a lot of fun. Playing this class will mean you are playing one of the most under-powered in the game, and noone will expect much out of you. Defying that lack of expectations is a challenge to me every day.

Sadly, for those not aware yet, the PTS for 1.3 has some rough changes in store. In particular, UF is being nerfed to the ground. Instead of 100% damage increase for 7 seconds, it’s going to be 100% crit rate for 7 seconds. Some are theorizing that this is done to tone down the Engineer AoE grenades devestating power, and that it will mean an across the board increase in damage for Shadow Warriors. Sadly, we won’t know that until phase 3 of testing goes into play, as the SW and SH changes haven’t made it through QC yet, and are still not on that server.

Addendum: It should be noted that we now know for the most part what 1.3 will be brining us. Nothing. No real buffs, no real nerfs, we’re going to be mostly the same, including UF. That said, UF will be reduced in the future, but we all hope that future isn’t until they are ready to improve us as well.


About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

4 Responses to A guide

  1. civilclub says:

    Thanks for this great post.

    • shadowwar says:

      Thank you very much for the comment.

      I removed the link to your site, only because I can’t read it, you might be a bot-spammer, and the translator program I have won’t work on your page for some reason, and I won’t blindly send anyone to a website where I don’t even know what the message is. If you would tell me the original language, I could probably have more success in the translation and confirm this isn’t spam, and would love to help increase your traffic.

  2. Krucifix says:

    great guide mate 🙂

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