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Guide for Frustrated Warriors

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The Bogmonster’s Guide for Frustrated Warriors (v1.3)

Having played a significant number of different character types in EQ (especially melee characters of various kinds), I have been absolutely astounded by the amount of misinformation that seems to just float around. Everyone seems to have an opinion of what makes a melee character, especially a warrior, an effective and valued group member in EQ, and this guide is my attempt to add my two cents to the whole discussion.

This guide is based on my experience playing a troll warrior to level 52 (as of this writing), but some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way will benefit nearly anyone, particularly if you play a ranger, rogue, bard, SK, or paladin. The opinions expressed below are my own, but have been formed from long experience, significant experimentation, and a mountain of trial and error.

I’m also not trying to over-glorify the warrior class or gloss over the problems that warriors face in writing this guide. Warriors are underpowered. My goal is to make this very difficult class as easy and as much fun as possible, and to smooth out the rough spots as much as I can.

This guide is also not for newbies. I’ve seen a number of thorough guides out there for newer players, and this isn’t one of them. This guide is meant to be an eclectic mix of tips and tricks for frustrated veterans, and will hopefully breathe a bit of new life into the warrior class.

Contents

AC and Stats

There are several kinds of warriors out there, and you need to know the differences between them. They are the stats-based warrior, the AC seeker, the brawler, Mr. Good-looking, and the lost boy. Let me explain…

When I was a stats-based warrior, I pushed my dex, agi, and other stats as high as they could go. Those stats were on my character screen, so they must be important, right? When choosing equipment, I often chose armor and jewelry that buffed up my stats at the expense of my AC. Besides, I had read some warrior guides that emphasized how important stats were. One guy (named Talon Boysenberry or something like that) wrote at some length in his guide about the many defensive benefits of agility, and how he hit more often because his dexterity was high. I read another by a dark elf warrior who wrote how his high intelligence caused him to learn his weapons skills so darn quickly.

High intelligence, indeed. Yep. Oh yeah. Sure thing. Yesiree. Way important. And do you know what you get if you dump six points into your agility? An increase of one AC. Big whoop.

Needless to say, these guys were both way off. The offensive melee bonus you get from dexterity is minimal, if anything. The defensive benefits of agility are almost nonexistent. And intelligence does not help you improve your combat skills one bit.

The result of listening to these prodigies of war craft? I was one gigantic walking injury. I could hang in a fight for all of about 15 seconds. Clerics complained. I bled everywhere. My voice got hoarse from yelling, “Heal me!” I spent more time zoning out than I did fighting. My corpse recovery skills became exceptional because of my constant practice. I even earned the lovely nickname ‘Mana-sponge’ from my healer buddies. It was horrible, and if you are a stats-based warrior, you are likely having this same experience yourself.

You see, the stats-based warrior has spent his time, effort, and money on all the wrong things, and it all adds up to some serious hurting.

After much frustration, I became the second type of warrior, the AC seeker. When it comes to your stats, you must remember that Verant wants warriors to be the defensive masters of the game. You don’t get any save-your-skin maneuvers (like gate or FD), or any mana to heal yourself or nuke your opponent. Your survival really depends on your AC.

When choosing equipment, I benefited tremendously by pushing my AC as high as I possibly could. This was no easy task, but I consistently emphasized AC. Stats were very much a secondary consideration (well, read on), but I learned that AC is of critical importance. I want AC in every single item I wear. Even my earrings have AC in them, and they are the highest AC earrings I can find.

The result of seeking to raise my Armor Class as high as possible? I’m became a much more solid tank. I could hang in even truly ugly fights for long periods of time. The mobs missed me more often, and when they did hit me, it was for less damage. My fellow group members expended less mana healing me, so we had less down time, and gained more experience.

I feel that Hit Points are the second most valuable defensive statistic for the warrior. As a result I also emphasize raising my HP as high as possible, but I rarely sacrifice AC to do so (well, read on a bit, and you’ll see what I mean). Any piece of equipment that offers both high AC and high HP is defensively very strong, and I seek these kinds of items out regularly.

After spending some time as an AC seeker (and publishing the first edition of this guide), I became increasingly frustrated with my poor offensive output. I could hang in fights longer due to my high AC, but the mobs were simply outlasting me. It took longer for me to get beat up, but I was still getting beat up. I was surviving, but not really thriving.

I received a number suggestions and questions by players via email and posting comments regarding the guide. This led to several experiments with haste items, etc. One single warrior posted a very interesting suggestion in the forums at the end of the guide. He suggested that his monumental strength was doing him a great service, in that he was hitting more often, and doing more damage, than the pure AC seeker. After much consideration and expensive experimentation I came to agree. I pushed my strength from 166 to 215 without buffs. This was no easy task, but I was careful with my equipment selection. I also acquired cobalt boots, which have a 25 pt. Str buff (for a mere 15k-ouch!), so I could self-buff up to 240 strength. I found that I was suddenly much much more powerful.

Thus I evolved again, and became the next type of warrior, the brawler. This is the rarest of rare warriors in EQ, but he is also, in my opinion, the most capable and fun to play. The brawler has a co-equal emphasis on his AC, as well as his strength. This gives him both offensive and defensive abilities that he would otherwise lack, and makes him a better survivor than any of the other warriors out there. In the next section I discuss this at length, but you get the idea.

Now for the next type of warrior, the lost boy. This guy can’t make up his mind. One piece of gear has a nice high AC; another piece has literally zero AC but some nice dex in it. Truthfully, these guys pick their gear in a pretty eclectic kind of way. If it seems good to them, they’ll use it, and they don’t seem to give it much thought. I have honestly heard guys talk up some lousy item because it looked good when equipped.

This type of thinking – well, the lack of it, actually -- results in a pretty mediocre warrior, but at least he can hang in a fight a bit longer that the stats-based guy that needs two clerics and a druid just to keep him alive.

What about Mr. Good-looking? This is the guy who buys all Blackened Iron armor because he wants to match, or gets the impressive looking (but under-performing) weapons, etc. This generally lasts until the mid-teen levels, until our little handsome man has had this literally beaten out of him. Dying repeatedly will really change your attitude. In complete contrast to this attitude, my stuff is such an ugly mismatched jumble of multicolored gear that it looks like a bad acid trip from 1969.

You’re kind of offensive (but don’t take that the wrong way)

Having spoken about defense for a while, it’s time to cover a warrior’s offensive abilities. Despite the fact that Verant’s “Vision” is for warriors to be defensively strong, warriors also posses some significant offensive abilities. A warrior’s offense is going to be limited, but if you follow the tips I illustrate below, you will save yourself a lot of frustration.

Strength is the one statistic that directly affects a warrior’s offensive output. Strength affects how often you hit, the maximum amount of damage that you do (high strength raises the damage cap), and the average amount of damage that you do over time. If you hit more often, you get more crits (which are broken, but occasionally add more damage to your attacks), crippling blows (which are actually pretty good), and you’ll stun mobs more often from your normal attacks. Your kicks and slams will land more often, and harder, as well. As a side benefit, it allows you to carry more weight, and thus more gear to switch out when you need it, as well as more loot before you have to go and sell. Last, but not least, better strength will allow you to build aggro more effectively. Why? Because you are doing more damage. ( Note: there is discussion on theSteelWarrior that argues that only weapon dmg/delay affects aggro, not the actual damage you do. )

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to adding to your strength.

When I speak of increasing your strength to increase your offensive output, I need to be clear. As you approach level 50, I would suggest that your strength be pushing 200, and it should go higher post 50. That’s not a misprint. In order to have an effective offense, you must be extremely strong. Increasing your strength should be your highest priority in improving your offense, more than increasing your dexterity, obtaining some uber weapon, getting your filthy warrior paws on a haste item, or anything else.

Casters in EQ have long known that they needed to push their intelligence and wisdom to 200, as this maximizes their mana. Melee classes have remained in the dark about the value of increasing this corresponding statistic, for reasons that are unclear.

Isn’t that a contradiction?

Yes, there is some contradiction in what I’ve written so far. Which is it? High AC, or high strength? Make up your mind, troll-brain!

The truth is, it’s both. AC is your primary defensive statistic. Strength is your primary offensive statistic. And there are precious few items out there that offer both high AC and high strength in them.

So what is a warrior to do?

Well, the answer isn’t always easy. But a few guidelines may help a bit.

Your defensive priorities in choosing your equipment should be first: high AC, second: high hit points, third: high stamina (as this gives you more hit points) and fourth: high agility (as agi gives you some AC bonuses, but at a terrible cost-to-benefit ratio).

Your offensive priorities in choosing your equipment should be first: high strength, second: haste, third: high dexterity (because this gives you more crits, crips, and procs).

What’s the rush?

Many warriors have voiced a very strong belief that haste items, like the FBSS, are a tremendous boon to a warrior’s ability. To some extent, I agree. But for the many reasons listed above, I think that pushing your strength up as high as possible will benefit you more than lower strength and more haste.

I conducted an experiment, in which I fought the same mobs wearing an FBSS (20% haste), then with a TBB (AC 8, with 15 str). The results were nearly identical. Wearing the TBB, however, I threw harder, more accurate blows, and added significantly to my AC while doing so. In throwing fewer attacks, I saved a bit of stamina. The FBSS made my attacks faster (I threw 20% more sword strokes, basically, but they were weaker), added nothing to my AC, and exhausted me more rapidly.

Currently, the FBSS sells for 10k on my server. The TBB sells for 4 to 5k.

It is my belief that haste items are a benefit to warriors, and that they do add to a warrior’s offensive output, but in a secondary way. In the experiment I illustrated above, equipping my warrior with the FBSS involved a big trade-off of both my primary offensive and primary defensive statistics.

I think that making acquiring an FBSS or similar haste item a priority for your warrior should be thought about very carefully. I do not suggest that you do so at the expense of your AC and strength. You may be bankrupting yourself, when a better alternative is available for less. I do think that high-end haste items like the COF, Rune Branded Girdle, Seblisian Berserker Cloak, and RBB (many of which add AC, strength, and haste) should be added to a warrior’s arsenal late in his career, after he has maximized his strength.

What about dexterity?

Dexterity contributes to your offense in three ways. It determines how often and how hard you hit with bows. It determines how often you get crits and crips. It also determines how often your weapons proc.

Let me put it this way: 95% of your offense comes from regular hits. Critical hits, crippling blows, and procs are nice, but they are gravy. You will also only use your bow for pulling most of the time. I believe that warriors should push their dex as high as possible late in their careers, but only after maximizing their strength and improving their offense with a high-end haste item. In this sense I would suggest that dexterity is a third on my list of offensive priorities.

Are you a warrior, or some type of shopkeeper?

As solid gear is critical to a warrior’s survival, let me clarify something for you: you are only as good as your equipment. This has two major (but related) consequences for you, young Jedi. First, you must constantly get your hands on gear that you could not, at your level, acquire yourself (no matter how good your group was). Second, in order to get this gear, you’ve simply got to play merchant from time to time.

Here is the game plan that I use. I take all the items that I’ve acquired over the past few bubbles of experience and I head off to the EC tunnel. I know ahead of time that it’s gonna take a long time to unload all of this stuff, so I plan on being there all day. And I mean all day. Once there, I wheel and deal, and hopefully sell or trade all the stuff I’ve got for all the stuff I need. Patience is a huge virtue here.

Sunday’s are, without doubt, the best day to do this kind of thing. The EC tunnel is as crowded as a shopping mall on Christmas Eve every Sunday. And nearly as irritating.

While you’re there, this is the perfect time to grab those sow and shrink potions, and the stacks of bandages, arrows, food, and drink that you’ll need to survive. I normally over-supply myself on my trips, and stop by the bank as well. I typically buy 40 food and drink, 100 arrows, and 100 bandages. It’s a bit heavy, but the weight goes down as I use these supplies up, and I can stay hunting in my zone longer before I need to resupply.

If you are an evil race, kill a few hundred orcs while in EC. The merchants will start to tolerate you, and sell to you. Unfortunately, no matter how many orcs you kill, the guards will still hate you, and chase you across the zone trying to kill you. If you defend yourself and kill one, the merchants will hate you again. (“It’s not your fault, little Uglak. They are just mean men. Mean men who are part of a capricious totalitarian state serving the narcissistic egocentric ravings of a black-hearted megalomaniac whose Napoleonic system of justice reveals them to be the sycophantic boot-lickers that they are. Yeah.”)

Also, make a button for each item that you’re selling. (Due to a bug, you can only type one line of text on each button that you make. If you try to type multiple lines of text on these buttons, only the first line will actually be auctioned, although on your screen it will seem like it worked properly.) Then make a bank of a few hot keys, and just hit your sales buttons as you wheel and deal, buy your potions, and get the supplies you need from the merchants in the zone.

Sometimes you’ll upgrade just one piece, and sometimes it’s two or three pieces of equipment. Often times you won’t even buy anything, but just sell what you’ve got and bank the cash. But the buy-sell-upgrade cycle is one you’re just going to have to get used to, you little salesman.

Something I forgot to mention...

Let me take this opportunity to talk about something I’ve never heard mentioned anywhere: The AC multiple. When you equip an AC item, your character’s armor class jumps up at a ratio of (approximately) 1.6 to one. If a bracer has an AC of 10, your warrior’s AC will not increase by 10 pts when you equip it. Your characters AC will go up by about 16 points.

This truly adds up, if you have been sacrificing ‘just a little’ AC here and there to gain some supposed statistical benefit. Remember, AC is a primary defensive consideration. Just take a good look at your character, and see where you could replace an item that gives a few eclectic stats (i.e., a bracer that gives +3 dex and +2 int) with a high AC item. When I did this, I bought items with a combined AC of about 13 for my character to wear. I was very surprised that when I equipped these items, my characters AC did not go up by 13 pts. It went up by 20.

I think even Conan could do the math on this one.

Does your father know you’re wearing all that jewelry?

While I’m on the subject, let me make a few quick comments on that ever-so-popular player-made jewelry that everyone is always selling. There is one player made item that I do endorse, and I endorse it very highly. It’s the 6 AC, 65 HP ring. A pair of these babies raises your AC by a nice chunk, and adds 130 hit points to your total. I love these rings.

When it comes to the other jewelry items in the game, there is one thing that I think that warriors should remember: that stuff is for casters. Sure, that necklace gives you +7 str and +7 int, but at what price? That’s right, zero AC. There is better gear out there, and for less plat. Maybe if you hunch your shoulders up a little, and duck your head down some, you won’t expose that unarmored neck of yours for the baddies too much.

AC Trade-Offs? Are You Pulling My Greave?

Having said all that about AC, I will, on occasion, trade off a point of AC for a significant statistical benefit. This is because I do believe that stats do have some beneficial effects, as I discussed above.

As you might imagine, I’m very conservative when it comes to sacrificing even one point of AC. So I will only do so if I’m not giving up much AC, and I’m gaining significantly in some other way.

I have a trade off formula that I use when choosing a piece of equipment. The system I use is subjective, so take it for what its worth. I have come up with this system of trade offs after much thought, experimentation, and practice, and I offer it to you to use as you see fit, young grasshopper. I will sacrifice one point of AC, if the item has one of the following: 1 pt of Str, 15 HP, 6 Dex, 6 Agi, or 5 Sta. I’ll also trade off one point of AC if the item has a save of +5 or better in it. I will not trade away any AC for int, wis, cha, or charges of anything. I can’t stand charged items.

Mathematically, the formula could be expressed this way: An items combat value (CV) is equal to its AC, plus one for every 1pt of Str, 15 HP, 6 Dex, 6 Agi, and 5 Sta. I also add one to its CV for every 1% haste increase.

CV = AC + Str + (total of hp, dex, agi, sta, and save bonuses) + % haste.

You can see that this formula emphasizes (strongly) the primary offensive and defensive measures of warrior effectiveness (AC and Str), and emphasizes the secondary and tertiary considerations accordingly.

So a Thick Banded Belt, with 8 AC and +15 Str would have a total combat value of 23.

Pretty easy to figure out.

To further illustrate this point, lets compare the crafted helm to the skull shaped barbute. The crafted helm is AC 14, which is quite high. It also gives +5 Int and +5 Wis. The stats, in this case, add nothing to its total combat value. Thus the CV of the crafted helm is 14.

The skull shaped barbute is only AC 13. The SSB has 35 hit points in it, however, which adds two points (one point for every 15 HP) to its value. As a bonus, the SSB adds +10 to your save vs. magic. This gives it an additional +2 CV. The total CV of the SSB? 17.

What about the Flowing Black Silk Sash? It offers no AC, Str, or any other stats. Instead it offers 20% haste (depending on who you listen to). So its total CV is 20. Not bad, but not the uber item some think it is.

Using this formula yields some surprising results, and will make you look at your gear in a whole new way. Just try comparing the value of that 600p player-made necklace you’re wearing to that cheap fine plate collar you sold 10 levels ago. You’ll kick yourself.

As a lark, figure out the CV for a serpentine bracer (which gets my vote for worst piece of equipment in the game) or those 4 str 2 int earrings that every warrior seems to be wearing.

The formula doesn’t take everything into consideration. Many warriors prefer the Iksar Ceremonial BP, for example, because it has a regeneration effect on it. I have not come up with a way to calculate the usefulness of effects like regen into the formula as yet. (What did you expect? I don’t play some uber-genius erudite scholar; I play an intellectually challenged green skinned swamp thing from the suburbs of Grobb.) Despite this, figuring the CV of various items will give you a pretty good over all feel for the relative value of the items you’re wearing.

A few comments on race and design

After posting the first edition of this guide, I’ve received more questions on this subject than any other. So here goes.

The best races to play as a warrior are the three large races: ogre, troll, and barbarian. I prefer the troll, because of regen, but ogres have more points, and barbs have good faction in most places. Each has its advantages, but these three races, in my opinion, hold the most promise as warriors.

When spending your points designing your warrior, I’d suggest putting every possible point into strength, for the reasons I’ve listed above. Dumping points into agi (if you haven’t heard what I’ve said about this by this point, you’ve obviously taken a few too many sling stones to the head. Stop reading this and go buy yourself a helmet.) or dex or intelligence or anything else is a gigantic waste of points. You will hate yourself later. If you have points left over after maximizing your strength, put a few points into your stamina.

No formulas have been released, but there are minimums that might affect you somewhat. If your agility is below 75, you lose a significant amount of AC. I believe that if your dex is below 75, there is a parallel corresponding loss in crits, crips, procs, etc (but this is a guess on my part). If you are designing a warrior with agi or dex below 75, push it up to 75. Pushing it over 75 is a waste.

Other races can be successful as warriors, but it should be obvious that the other races do not have as many points in their stats as do the three large races. Also, you will not be able to push their strength up toward 150 from the start (the max you can have in the design phase), and you will start with a strength that is significantly lower. A starting strength of 150 is a huge benefit, and makes equipment selection much much easier throughout your career. If you really want to play a wood elf or gnome or munchkin or gremmie sand man or kobold or shaved monkey or mole man or whatever, knock yourself out. They can be successful. It’s just a bit harder.

Also, don’t lose hope. If you made some mistakes in designing your warrior, they can be fixed. I personally picked a solid race (the troll), but dumped every point into dex, agi, and int. (Why? Because of that guy Boysenberry’s stupid guide! I’ll find him some day! Grrrrrr! And I’ll burn his village, and kill his pet hamster! And I’ll trample his garden with my smelly troll feet! I’ll eat his dog’s food right out of its dish! And ….. but wait, I wax philosophical.) If you are like me, and either picked poorly suited race, or dumped your points into the wrong stats, or both, there is hope.

The difficulty is that fixing this is no small task: you’ll need to seek items that are both very high AC and very high strength, all in one. These are very expensive, and very rare. Compare this situation to that of the ogre who started out with a strength of 150. He can pick up a few nominally priced items, and have his strength up to 200 easily. He can spend 5k buying Greasy Grimy Pants (21 AC and 5 strength) and do well. You’ll need to push for that uber rare set of Gangly Green Greaves (with 20 AC and 15 str) for 250k in plat. He has more options, and spends a bit less. You just have to work harder (and spend more) but it can be done.

Also, when designing a new warrior, choose Rallos Zek as your deity. This helps in a number of ways, particularly with the giants of Kael Drakkal. They will like you instantly, so you can go through their city to the rest of Velious. Choose something else, even agnostic, and you’ll have faction problems with them. Now personally I hate the idea of having to choose a deity even if this is only a game (because of my RL religious beliefs), but this does help make the game a bit easier.

Have a seat, Hercules

A small random note on over-utilizing, and taking for granted, the healers in your party. It benefits everyone if they have mana to spare, and you can impact that a little. Have the forethought to buy a mountain of bandages the next time you cruise by the local merchants. I typically carry 60 to 100 bandages with me at any given moment. I let the healer know that if party members are below 50% health after a fight, I can slap a patch on them while they med up. Some healers don’t care. Some appreciate my efforts in those OOM after the brawl situations.

On this note, let me add one more tidbit. Between fights, when the casters are medding, don’t run in big circles, and jump on and off nearby objects, go swimming, or anything like that. Instead, have a seat. You heal much faster that way, and the healer in your group will appreciate you’re doing your part to help him out, even if it’s just a little. I was once in a group with a barbarian warrior who repeatedly just stood in one spot while the casters medded up. When I asked him why he didn’t sit and heal, he said “well, it takes a long time.” Yes it does, Ironhead, and it takes 3 times as long if you are standing.

Slam and Kick

Kick does a bit more damage than slam does, but only at lower levels. For reasons no one can understand, kick caps at 150. Slam goes to 200. As your warrior gets older, slam gets better and better compared to kick because of this cap.

In addition, slam will often stun a mob, and kick will not. This means that slam is perfect against casting mobs. If you time it right, you interrupt them as they try to nuke you or heal themselves.

Having said that, if you are a large race warrior, use slam. It’s better. I don’t know why this is, but I still see higher level barbarian, ogre, and troll warriors using kick, even into their forties.

A funny thing happened to me when I sat down the other day….

On another weird note, I’ve noticed that if a mob runs from me, and I sit down, he comes right back.

This is no freebie, so that you don’t have to chase anything any more. The mob sees you sit, senses your vulnerability in this situation, and decides he’s going to come back for a free whack at you. If you don’t stand before he gets back, his odds on hitting you are very high, and he’ll hit you for maximum damage.

I don’t know if this works when grouped, but I have often used this when that frustrating green mob hits me, then runs away (and I can’t catch him), then returns and hits me again, etc. By milking the sit button, I can get him to come back to poppa nicely. But it hurts a little.

Puller’s Privilege

This one is gonna tick off the caster’s out there, but here goes. As the puller for your group, you are doing all the work. Truth is, sitting down, medding, standing up 3 times during a fight to cast a spell, then sitting down again is not very hard work. In the meantime you (the puller) are running all over the zone to grab any mob you can find, and when you pull them back to the group, you take all the abuse, run around taunting like a madman to keep your buddies alive, and then chase the mob down when he tries to run away. If you try to take a rest, what happens? Your group begins to whine and cry and bug you about pulling more and faster. Maybe they are just upset because their butts are getting sore from all that sitting.

And the risks for you, as the puller, are far greater. You can get stuck, or rooted, or lost, or jumped by the uber-mob and his whole family, all far far away from your buddies. Then you’ve got to go through the chore of recovering your corpse, and you have lost hours worth of experience, even if you get a rez.

And what happens if you do make it back to your group-mates, and the fight goes bad? They gate, while you run for the zone with every mob hacking at your glutes. It’s not a pretty sight.

In order to somewhat compensate for all this, I believe in what I call the Puller’s Privilege. The puller loots his fair share of the mobs that are killed near the party, just like everyone else. Then the puller, and only the current puller, loots the mobs that died some distance from the party. This has to be played reasonably, but as a general rule if the mob dies outside the room where the party is camped, it’s the puller’s to loot. The puller also gets to loot whatever abandoned corpses he has found while wandering the zone in search of prey. In practice this doesn’t add up to much, but it is some compensation for your trouble. It also helps compensate for the ugly fact that, as a warrior, you are your equipment. No other class is anywhere as dependent on gear as you are, and you are on a constant quest to improve your stuff.

Um, do you think that part will cause a few rants? Nah….

Run Away! Run Away!

This is a simple self-preservation tactic. I advise warriors to have a predetermined idea as to what point you will Panic and Pull the Pin. What I am trying to say is at that a warrior, who has no save-your-skin maneuver (like FD or gate), must at some reasonable point stop fighting and run for the zone. You are forced to rely on your AC and HP to save you, and if those get too low, you’ll die waiting for a heal. Wait too long, and you’ll be a very brave, very noble, corpse. And we’ll all be proud of you for your chivalry, as you loot your stuff.

I recommend that you do not go below 25% of your hit points at midlevels, and 20% at high levels. You must adjust this a little higher if you are deep in the zone, and you can go a little lower if you are fighting right near the zone. Saving a few hit points for this purpose affords you a margin of safety. With a significant number of hit points left when you choose to flee, you can still make it to the zone even if you take a few hits along the way. Wait too long and you’ll experience that run-down (i.e., I’m too slow and not gonna make it) feeling. And with one or two hits, and you’ll be that good looking body near the zone. Nothing like almost making it, is there?

This is not always a bad thing for your group members. Just tell your party at what point you will PPP ahead of time. The healers then are well aware of the fact that they need to keep you above that point. And if you do run, you will undoubtedly pull a few of the mobs with you away from your group when you go, so they will have less to deal with as you run screaming like a little girl for the zone.

Also, make a ‘Zone!’ button. Put it right next to your /yell button. Notify them that you are PPPing, but do it as you run. Don’t stop to chat. You are fleeing. Remember that.

And use common sense. If there is one mob left, and he is 75% dead, maybe that is not the time to PPP.

Also, if it’s time to zone, then zone. Don’t run to the zone, and stop, waiting to see if your buddies will make it, or what will happen next, etc. Probably you’ll have that moment of calm, peaceful quiet. You’ll wonder where the mobs went. You’ll think wow, what a close call. Glad I made it! Then, quite suddenly, the Lizard King and all his homies are whacking you, and you are stunned, and can’t really turn around and run the 5 steps to the zone, and next thing you know you get to beg your buddies to beg the zone for a rez. You know the drill all to well.

Are they temperature-hot, or just spicy hot?

I have found a few other hot keys helpful, in that they make me a bit more effective or efficient. The /yell key is effective if you are ungrouped and need a hand, or your group mates didn’t notice that every mob in the vicinity suddenly turned on you. This lets ‘em know.

The “I’m zoning!” key, previously mentioned, is also helpful. An “Incoming!” key (the command is Incoming %T) is also a good one to use when pulling, as it lets them know what mob is enroute to them. I also make a ‘sit’ button (it automatically toggles with ‘stand’), and an /assist button (for when I’m not the puller). I wrote earlier about having several ‘sell’ buttons, for whatever items I’m currently selling or trading. I’ve also already mentioned the quick switch hot keys for switching in and out weapons, etc.

I stack some other utilitarian keys (/corpse, some socials, /who all friends, and /who all “MyGuildsName,” etc) on banks 4-6, but I try to stick to using banks 1,2 and 3 most often.

A sow is not just a momma pig

In discussing pulling and PPP, it’s important to realize the importance of being sow’ed as often as possible. This is again because, as a warrior, you are one of the few classes with absolutely no lifesaving maneuvers (like FD or gate). If you are in a guild, and can ask you guild mates for their assistance, feel free to acquire a set of J-boots. They’ll save your bacon.

I’ve personally never had the patience for that unendurable camp, so I have consistently used the next best thing, stacked sow potions. Yes, they are a little expensive (at 10pp each) but they have saved my life many times, when no other sow was available. When in a group with no sow, or running across that scary zone when my sow fades, that stack of potions is a lifesaver.

One last thing on sow potions. They cannot be drunk in mid-combat. The casting time for them is like 5 seconds or more. So if you think you will run un-sowed across the Emerald Jungle, then sow yourself when you get attacked, it won’t work. So go ahead and use it, it’s worth the 10pp to not have to recover your corpse.

Also Verant recently introduced Traveler’s Boots into the game. They are virtually identical to Jboots (except that they have a small casting time), but can be purchased from a gnome merchant who can be found deep in Sol A. They cost me 6500p, (My charisma is a whopping 40. No one appreciates my beauty.) but I think it was worth every penny. I’m sowed 24/7 now, and it is an absolute lifesaver. You’ll have to kill a lot of kobolds in Sol b to build faction with the gnomes, and get a group to go with you to talk to the merchant, so it’s not as easy to buy as it sounds, but I think it’s worth it.

I’m trying to get down to a size three by Saturday….

This brings me to another favorite potion of mine, the stacked shrink potion. This is also a lifesaver, especially if you are a large size warrior. When hunting a zone with narrow passages, especially the passages that lead to the zone, I’ll use these to reduce my size and eliminate that panic-inducing I’m stuck in the door and blocked by the mob feeling. When shrunk, I have never been stuck when fleeing. As a normally oversized troll, I have been killed countless times when I got pinned in some small spot. Again, these are a lifesaver when no shaman is in your group to shrink you.

I tried Jenny Craig. The portions are all halfling sized. The shrink potions work better.

Your buddy, the shaman

This leads into my next point, the use of your ‘friends’ list. The list currently has space to list 30 friends. Now maybe you are an extremely social guy and you have 30 genuine in game friends, but often times I can’t even remember who half the people on my list are, much less why I considered them a friend. I haven’t seen half of them for 16 levels.

The truth is, I have about half a dozen friends in the game. I genuinely like these folks, and would do anything for them. So I am suggesting that you put a few other folks on the list that you need to know, but aren’t necessarily ‘friends’ per se. Use the friends list like a list of business contacts.

My first suggestion is that you put some potion-selling shamans (uh, shamen? What is the plural of that, anyway?) on the list. As there are at least a few potions that are useful to you, and not all shamans/shamen/sha-women/sha-persons make and sell potions, these folks are useful to keep track of. Since the potion making business is time consuming and not all that profitable, finding potions can sometimes be challenging. Also, try out some other potions. They are a bit too expensive, but occasionally useful. Experiment a bit.

Others you may want on the list are healers, clerics (for rez purposes), and even those characters that love to play merchant. You never know when one of those guys will be able to get an item you need. Make the list useful to you, and be willing to donate and pay these guys back some time down the road when they need a hand.

Room dumping

Warriors don’t get any special maneuvers to split up groups of mobs, so breaking up that tough spawn is hell for us ‘masters of combat in all its forms.’ I would like to suggest one technique that tends to work if all else fails.

Make sure you are sow’ed, and approach that fearful spawn. Pick a target, and shoot. Run like you’re on fire for the zone. If screaming helps, then do so. Zone out.

Wait a few moments, (use that ‘sit’ hot key) on the other side of the zone. One of your group mates will spy on the mobs, and tell you when they begin to wander back to their spawn point. When most of them have wandered away, he grabs one and pulls it to the group. You zone back in, and run to help out your buddies. If this works out, you have split the spawn in two.

This works even better if another group picks off a few of those pulled mobs that you left at the zone.

This is an extremely dangerous technique if your group is camped anywhere near the path to the zone that you are using. They’ll detect them, somehow, and attack them. It’s also real bad news if a low level group is camping the zone. Be nice.

Yeah, ok, so this isn’t rocket science. I’m a warrior. A troll warrior.

You wait over here. After we kill your friends, we’ll get back to you.

On another crowd control note, you can’t actually control anything, but you can help a bit.

Pull the mobs. If one comes, bring him right back to your group. Chop it up into little monster cakes.

If you pull two or three, stop at a pre-arranged spot a short distance from your camp. Your paladin (or whomever) then roots one of the mobs in that spot. Then you bring the others to your camp. By the time you’ve chopped up one of the nearest baddies, the rooted one has broken root, and is ready to be dismantled.

You know why I don’t like weights? They’re too heavy.

Most warriors eschew weight reducing bags as a caster item. I think that the various weight reducing packs out there can be quite helpful, in that they help you remain in the field longer, keeping more semi-valuable loot, before you have to return to civilization to sell.

If there are a few items that you don’t use all the time, but find useful occasionally, don’t just leave them in the bank anymore. Stuff them into that EE bag as well. This can help you tailor your play to the mobs.

Player made backpacks are quite useful as well. They offer 10% weight reduction, and have 10 slots. You can carry more gear into the field, and more loot out using these.

Groupies and Guildies

It takes a while to find a group in EQ, which is a major pain. You’ve probably noticed by now that they usually shout for a tank (not a warrior) and will take any type of tank out there, so you have lots of competition in finding a group. After going through this hassle, I really hate to leave a group, and start the shouting for a group process again. If my group is dysfunctional (for any number of reasons) I have found that speaking up helps. Also having a plan for when things go badly often keeps me alive. Silently wishing everyone would start playing smarter has often resulted in my needless death.

When telling the group about the error we are making, I am polite, and it does often result in a change in behavior. Sometimes a simple, private /tell to the person who is causing the problem gets the job done.

My plan for disaster is usually a simple one: running as soon as the predictable disaster occurs. It’s dumb, but it is amazing how much thinking about this ahead of time helps. As an example, I was once in a group that was double pulling (one official puller, and an SK that kept getting up and scouting the zone spontaneously). Another group member and I tried to get the SK to be a bit more patient, all to no avail. Both pullers brought mobs back to our group as the room popped. Running as soon as this very predictable event occurred would have saved my butt. Instead I hung around a bit too long, as we all typed messages to the group and reached consensus on whether or not we should jam. I died like the idiot that I was that day.

When it comes to guilds, I highly recommend joining one. Your guild mates will provide you with some transportation abilities that you lack, as well as assistance in completing that needlessly long and involved quest. They also help you find groups much faster, if fellow guildies are in the zone. Being in a guild, especially a large one, has a number of subtle advantages, one of which is grouping with your friends.

There is a responsibility to being in a guild, in that you also have to help them with their quests, go on raids you have no interest in, etc. But do it, as it’s helpful to your buddies, who have been so helpful to you.

Mindlessly Mocking the Mobs

This is a note on mindless taunting. It’s rampant. So have a plan, and use your taunt skill wisely.

What does the typical warrior do? Methodically pushes the taunt button whenever it pops back up, right? This is a mistake. Let me explain.

Every other melee class out there (except rogues) has some type of self-healing. You do not. With the advent of Fine Plate armor, and an increase in their skill caps, most of the hybrids have the same AC as you do (if they are smart in picking their armor, that is). Their hit points are darn close to yours, and if they get buffs, they are even closer. So why are you mindlessly taunting the mob off of them?

What I am saying is that Paladins and SKs can take it, and they are very nearly as good at tanking as you are. They are also have some self-healing available (greater heal, LOH, life-tap, etc) which you do not. They have a reserve in their spells and mana. Monks have the mend skill, which heals them and recycles every few minutes at high level, and FD if they get in real trouble. Monks often FD to get the mob off them, then pop back up to resume fighting. You have only your hit points, and no back up plan.

Warriors even taunt mobs off of pets. These are replaceable.

If your casters or healers are getting hit, then it’s time to taunt. If one of your fellow tanks is taking too much damage, and is in danger of death, then its time to taunt. If the mob is facing the rogue, then that is another time to taunt. Other than that, stay off the taunt button. If you don’t push it mindlessly, then it’s there without delay when you need to get the baddie off that oh-so-fragile wizard. You won’t have to wait that precious ten seconds while it recycles to save your friend.

Furthermore, if you mindlessly taunt throughout a tough fight, and you take a bunch of abuse, and you are near death, and the mob suddenly turns on the cleric, what good are you? No good at all. Because you have taunted without thinking, and therefore taken too much punishment at the beginning and middle of the fight, you have no reserve hit points to save your buddy. In this situation, if you don’t taunt, he dies. If you taunt, you die.

You may wish to consider the idea of shepherding your precious Hit Points a bit more than you do now. These are your life-blood. Keep some as a reserve. Let all the melee types take some hits, and at the end of a long, drawn out fight you’ll have two or three bubs of HP left.

Quick Switching

Quick switching is a valuable skill that is utilized by practically nobody, despite the fact that many classes can benefit from it.

It works as follows: Make hot keys of both of your weapons slots. Just hold the mouse down over your primary weapon slot, and it becomes a button. Then take that button, and place it on one of your open hot-key slots on the lower left side of the screen. Now that weapon slot is ‘Hot Keyed.’ Now do the exact same thing for your left hand (or off-hand) weapon slot. Notice that if you mouse click on one of your newly created hot keys, you can equip and unequip your weapons quickly.

Now take your last two inventory slots (lower right side of the screen), make sure they are empty, and make buttons out of those. Place these buttons next to the weapon slot buttons you just made on your hot key bank.

If you’ve done this correctly, you have just created four hot keys. Two are your weapons slots, and two are inventory slots. They should all be on the same hot key bank, and right next to each other.

Now, by using your mouse, you can take your weapons out of your hands, and place them into your inventory very quickly, and vice versa. No opening up you whole equipment-inventory screen, blocking your view, etc to equip or unequip a weapon. No moving your mouse all over the screen.

At this point you may be asking yourself “What is the point of all this yammering, you ignorant troll?” Well, the benefits of this ability to quick switch your weapons in and out are many. It all depends on what you place in those inventory slots.

As an example, you may be a human warrior who normally equips a wurmslayer in your primary hand, and a yak in your off hand (a popular and effective combination). You may choose to place a clay guardian shield (25 AC, and 50 HP) in one of the inventory slots, and a jade green mace in the other slot. You now have several useful combinations of weapons available to you, and they are all available immediately.

If the fight goes on for a long time, wielding that heavy WS may exhaust you. Seeing this is about to occur, you quickly pick up the mace from inventory, and drop it into your primary weapon’s slot. You’ll find that the WS is now attached to your mouse pointer. Now just click on the inventory slot, and your WS is in inventory. You fight on, using your mace and yak, and find that you have stamina left over at the end.

Next pull includes a couple of casting mobs, which are healing themselves in a frustrating show of self-preservation. If you are a medium sized warrior, you don’t have slam, so you have no ability to stun them while casting. But wait, that shield is now very handy. You pick it up on your mouse pointer, and drop it in your off-hand slot. Push the bash button, and the mob’s casting is interrupted. You can even try to time it just right, so that you are dual wielding most of the time, but dropping the shield in and bashing just at the right moment, then dropping in the yak again.

As you try to rest, the room pops, and your casters are all low on mana. A couple of the mobs are killed, and that last mob turns on you as the healer tells you he’s oom. You quickly drop in your clay guardian shield, and keep your WS in your primary hand. This is your highest AC combination, and gives you 50 hp on top of that. You and your buddies wear the bad guy down, and you’ve made him miss you enough times so that you survive this one. You wouldn’t have if that shield had not been handy.

You can equip yourself for offense (two fast weapons with good ratio’s and good procs), for defense (two weapons with AC in them), or for some of the unusual effects/procs that the weapons have. It’s up to you.

Shoot and Scoot

Verant has repeatedly stated that they did not intend that bows, or ranged weapons in general, become primary forms of attack. With lousy damage/delay ratios, poor range, the fact that targets can be too far above/below you, too close to use a ranged weapon, or the oddly frustrating ability of arrows to disappear if a player or object gets in the way of your target, they succeeded. I’m the only warrior I know that uses his bow with any effectiveness.

When in town, I buy (or fletch) about 100 arrows. And I go through them quickly.

I often use the shoot and scoot method of pulling. Shoot the mob, run (sow’ed, of course) midway to your party, shoot again, run to your group, and shoot as it makes its final approach. I have done up to 60 pts (total) damage or more to a mob by doing this, and although not extremely effective, I think it makes a little difference, and I have not taken any damage in so doing.

The alternative, widely used, is to run up to the mob, hit it with your sword, and run back to your group. You get hit two or three times by the mob and his buddies before you can turn and run, sometimes more. You return to your group injured, and you’ve done minimal damage to the mob. The benefits of bow pulling are obvious.

In addition, if a mob runs, and I cannot pursue effectively, shooting often does enough damage to slow him down. This is effective in situations where the geography and pathing causes the mob to run in odd patterns, or when the mob gets a good head start.

Bow pulling is also the preferred method when the mob spawns in an odd place. When hunting the planks in Cazic-Thule, for example, you could shoot a mob, do some damage, and run back to your group without having to make too many turns (and end up in the water).

If I’m not the puller, I wait with the group with my bow in hand. As the mob follows the puller in, I get off a free shot. Again, not super effective, but it’s a few hit points less that we have to chop off of the baddie.

Occasionally a party member will root a mob a short distance away from the group. I take this opportunity to sink 6 or 8 arrows into dummy, and he is doing absolutely zero damage to us. When he breaks root, guess whom he aggroes on? That’s right, me, the tank. Saves the rooter a scary moment.

Training in the use of the bow is fairly easy. I often do this during down time, when I’m waiting to find a group. I just dump arrows into the mob that the nearest group is pulling. My archery skill goes up, and they appreciate the help. I have found that I almost never need to dump training points into my other weapon skills, but archery just goes up too slowly. I have had to dump a bunch of points into this skill, but its now up to a level that is close to my other weapons skills, and I seldom miss.

There were some recent changes in quivers that cause them to reduce the delay on your bow. This is, in effect, a minor haste item for your bow only. I have not had the chance to experiment with this, but it may prove beneficial. Experiment, and see if the reduction in delay is worth it.

AC items in the ranged slot

Due to the poor quality of bows in general, and their very limited usefulness as weapons, many warriors put AC items of various kinds in their ranged weapons slot.

This has some advantages in melee combat (obviously), as your AC is a bit higher, and the item can add to strength or other stats. But this advantage is negated when this melee-only warrior has to pull, and gets whacked doing it because he has no bow.

The only way to avoid this, it seems, is to quick switch out your AC item with your bow. This is a bit problematic, as you have to have a third open inventory slot, and the timing of that last shot as the mob is making his final approach to your party, then making the switch, is all a bit tricky. I use my bow quite a bit, so I personally have little experience with this, but it certainly can be done.

Raise the shields...

I almost never see warriors using a shield, and I think that this is a mistake. The shield can be useful in some situations (I touched on this earlier) and having one available for quick-switching is a good idea.

When you are about to pull, quick-switch in a shield. A Clay Guardian Shield (25 AC +50 HP) costs 1-2k on my server right now, and isn’t really highly sought after by anyone. In other words, it’s easy to find, and it’s cheap. When I equip this item, it raises my AC by about 40 pts. Think about that for a minute. (I know, I know. You’re a warrior. Thinking is hard. But try.)

So off I go to pull, using the shoot and scoot technique, and the shield doesn’t affect my use of the bow at all. If another wandering mob takes a swipe at me as I’m coming back to the group, or if my target catches me somehow, I have all that extra AC to protect me. When I get back to the group I just quick-switch out my shield for my off hand weapon again, and I’ve lost almost nothing in offensive output.

Because of the AC bonuses, the shield is also helpful when traveling a dangerous zone, fleeing, or when you are near death.

Training, but not the choo-choo kind...

When in a strong group that isn’t really in danger from the mobs you are hunting, do some weapons training. Pick up some fine steel or velium weapons from the mobs you are killing, and use them. If you practice this pretty regularly, your various weapons skills will be maximized nearly all the time. You never know when a piercing weapon (the Gremmie Underwater Eye Poker, perhaps?) or a two handed blunt weapon (maybe the Grotesque Uber Bonker?) you never heard of before is suddenly going to seem like a dream come true. If you have been practicing the necessary weapon skills, you are already very well suited to maximizing your ability with that weapon right away.

A note on weapon procs...

Many weapons have a proc effect on them, and these can be quite effective, as they add to your offense. I have noticed, however, that DD procs (which do one shot of damage to a mob) are better than DOT procs (which do damage over a period of time).

There are two reasons for this. First, DOT procs often do not stack with the spells of your party members. I had a Kunzar Ku’juch for a while, and I liked the damage, the low delay, and the mob slowing 100pt DOT Engulfing Darkness proc. The problem was that the proc did not stack with snare. Every time I was in a group with a ranger or druid (which was all the time) they would snare the mob at the start of the fight (so it couldn’t reach the casters) and my procs wouldn’t take hold. Engulfing Darkness does not stack with snare.

Secondly, procs go off at random times. Your DD proc might go off right now, then again 2 seconds from now, then again 5 minutes from now. You never know. If your DD proc goes off three times in a row, so much the better. You just nuked the mob three times. If you have a DOT proc on your weapon and it goes off two or three times in a row, it will not stack with itself. In other words, the proc is not doing much more damage than if it had gone off only once.

Pretending that you’re a rogue...

There is a significant bonus to hitting a mob in the back. Every creature in Norrath has a lower AC when attacked from behind than when attacked from the front.

This has two consequences for you, Mr. Bloodandguts. If at all possible, get behind the mob. I’m amazed at how often all the melee types in a group will stand right in front of the mob and hack away. Jump in behind it, and your offensive production goes up (for you ogres out there, that means you’ll do more damage). If you are behind it, and your buddies are all gathered in front of it, taunt. You are giving your melee groupies back shots now.

The second consequence is that you should never, if at all possible, let a mob get behind you. You are taking lots more damage from him. This usually happens when additional mobs add-in or aggro your group after you’ve already started fighting something. Maneuver around, taunt, do whatever you have to, but get any mobs that jump into the fight in front of you. Don’t give them easy shots at your low AC rear end. My trollie booty is way to precious (and dead sexy, I might add) to give them those free hacks at it.


The price is right

There are a few free, no-drop items in the game that are beneficial, and often times are easy to acquire, if you are willing to make the trip. A lot of these items aren’t great, but as a warrior, you’re often going to be struggling to acquire items you really need, and these free items can help out.

Jarsath armor drops regularly in Karnor’s Castle, and it has some decent AC and stats. It’s only for medium sized folks, and smaller. Even a low level warrior who got himself to Karnor’s could get a full suit with a half day of ooc’ing. No one really wants this stuff, as it’s all below their level (most people are in their 40s and 50s when they hunt KC), and it drops routinely. Just let the zone know that you want it, and they’ll send you a shout when it drops.

In Trakannon’s Teeth Spectral Bows drop off of every hunter and forager in the zone. It’s a dangerous zone, but with a sow and a map you could rather easily find a group that is killing these mobs, and letting the bows rot.

In Sol b Carnal Paldrons drop in the king room fairly regularly. These aren’t great (AC 9, dex +7 if I remember correctly), but they rot there because no one wants them. This is again because everyone is in their mid-30s when they hunt that room, and the shoulder pieces they have are better in most cases. There are also two no-drop weapons (Painbringer, which is more common, and Fleshripper, which is not) that drop in that room, and you can occasionally get one of those for the exact same reason.

In Icewell Keep groups can often be found killing the dwarf guards, who drop Royal Velium Frosted Armor. This is actually pretty good stuff. The boots and gloves are dirt common, so you can probably pick up a set of these for free just by asking the groups hunting the zone. Don’t bother waiting for the arms, legs, BP, or anything else, as they are probably trying to get these much rarer drops for themselves.

There are numerous other examples. Like I say, sometimes the gear that drops isn’t great, but may be better than what you are using and can afford now. This stuff is relatively easy to acquire if you are willing to make the trip.

- Bogmonster