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Shaman tactics 101

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  • Shaman tactics 101

    [Hope this is the right forum for this, it kind of just evolved after a few weeks of idle musings. It's as much for me to organize my thoughts on the topic as it is for the benefit of new (And hopefully old ) players. Heh, don't mind the IC manner it was written in, that was just for kicks. Anyhoo, enjoy!]

    Healing etiquette and Tactics:

    Why hello there young shaman! It never fails to bring a smile to my face at the sight of new faces among the ranks of the faithful. Oh, how terribly rude of me, I am Lazul the Sphinx, a shaman of the Guardians. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? No? Well, all in due time, I suppose.

    Now, not that I don’t find your company delightful, but I can’t help but wonder why you’ve come here, most other monsters would be hunting pink skins-… You wish to learn the nuances of being a shaman? How very precocious! Few monsters show such foresight these days. Now, I do poses some small knowledge on the matter, if you’d care to listen? Excellent, lets begins immediately.

    On healing:
    To begin, every shaman worth his salt can heal, and as a role we are most often sought after for healing. This, however, does not give one free license to heal everyone in sight wantonly. As a general rule, you should always ask first before healing or casting a protection spell on another. Why do you look at me so? Yes, most monsters would be thankful for healing, but that’s just it most monsters does not mean everyone. This is especially true in the presence of other shamen, who seek to learn to heal by healing themselves, and monsters of other clans, who for whatever personal reason would refuse your help.

    On Carapace and other protection spells:
    There’s nary a monster who wouldn’t want one cast on them, but even so, a Carapace or Endure spell can deprive other shamen of their chance to learn through practice. Other monsters might object either from preference or a genuine lack of need. I’m sure you’ve already been taught this, one should never over medicate or over protect. While I’m sure your clan can appreciate your desire to protect them, chasing down clan members and casting spells on them against their will is not the best way to do this.

    A shamans help should come as freely as the rain, yet fall lightly on those who are but a little thirsty, and heavily on those who are in dire need.

    An ounce of Cure is worth a pound of Heal:

    Heal is the backbone of any shamans arsenal of spells, it is often the first spell learned and mastered by many healers. Yet for all its efficacy, Heal only treats the symptoms, not the disease. As such many of the other spells you can learn focus on preventive protection, rather than be reactive in nature. For simplicities sake, Ill divide them into types:
    Carapace and Endure – These two gems can prevent overwhelming attacks from ever connecting, and stave off the nibbling of splash attacks. However, they only stop hits from connecting, unlike…
    Sphere of Protection and Spirit Shield – Both of which make the target harder to hit. In many cases, not being hit at all is the best way to survive. But when you are hit, its best to have…
    Fortify and Cure – Even the best defended character can be hit by poisons or other attacks. Faced with hours of casting heal just to keep the patient alive, it is often best to Cure or Fortify the patient, saving you much time from having to heal them constantly.

    Lastly, the best and truest way of treating the illness and not the disease is quite simple: kill the attacker. A purely defensive strategy with no offence will never succeed in defeating an enemy, when fighting alone or with others, do your best to make sure at least someone is attacking. Once cornered into a purely defensive and reactive position, you have lost the initiative, and defeat becomes a matter of time. Also, recognize that retreating is not dishonorable if it saves your life and that of your patients.

    On battles
    As a shaman you shall more often than not have the unenviable job of battlefield medic. This presents a fascinating set of challenges. Who is most wounded? Who needs a protection spell, and if so, which one? Shall I attack or hold back? Should I protect myself, or another? These are just some of the questions you will be faced with, none of them easy. Out of necessity, a shaman must have the battlefield awareness to rival a leader or warrior. You must know who is getting attacked with what, who is injured, how much longer they can hold out, and assess any other factors in the field. Most times, clanmates and allies shall be too concentrated fighting to ask you for the specific help they might need, so it becomes your job to anticipate their needs. I shall not presume to be an expert at this, for I am still learning, but through experience I have learned some general rules:
    1 - Designate the largest threat(s) in the field, and act accordingly. If it is a warrior, Carapace the monster he is attacking. If it’s a mage, Endure as many clanmates as feasible. If its is a mixed force, use a Sphere of Protection.
    2 - Designate your most valuable clanmate, and give him priority when healing and protecting over your other clanmates. As cold as this may sound, you should decide who among your party have the best chance of defeating the enemy, and focus on protecting them as best you can. Not to say you should let the others in your group to fend for themselves, but you should prioritize.
    3 - An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Cure. Most of your shaman spells can and should be cast pre battle, this not only helps prevent one-hit-kills, but saves you time in adapting to changes in the battlefield’s condition.
    4 - Heal, for all its effectiveness, treats the symptom, not the cause. Therefore, rather than cast Heal on the clansmates being attacked, use Carapace or Endure. If your spell holds for more than a few hits, you can begin to heal him. In this same spirit, Fortify and Sphere of Protection are wonderful preventive spells that help buy time in any situation.
    5 - Likewise, a good offence is a good defense. While you may be specialized in protection, take the time to approach enemies to corner them if strategically advantageous. This serves the two fold purpose of limiting their movement, and forcing them to focus on you rather than the clanmate who can kill them, thus freeing up your clanmates to attack more easily.
    6 - A good defense is a good defense. The above depends on you ability to hold off a dedicated attacker, if you can only delay but not stop him, you’d be best advised to hang back and support someone who can take on the attacker.

    On Hunting:
    As a shaman, you will find your hunting experience much different than a mage or fighters. I’ll not bore you with the details you no doubt already know, but there are some things you should be made aware of. Hunting with someone near your strength can be very rewarding, even if the logistics of it are hard. I have often acted as a ‘Meat Shield’(to coin the phrase of my friend Fierem the Phoenix) for the frailer mages. I use the opportunity to heal myself, and he the opportunity to freely attack.

    Hunting for a shaman is truly a test of how well balanced they are. To succeed at this balancing act, you must keep your claws apace with your other healing and protection skills, as well as keeping yourself as strong as you are energetic and authoritative. Feel free to experiment, but remember that for a shaman, extremes are seldom advisable.

    Oh my, that was long wasn’t it? I do believe the evening sun is setting, and you’re looking anxious to test out this advice. I’ll not keep you then, feel free to come by later if you want more advice. Now go with my blessing, and may Grendel watch over you.

    *signed simply, with a blue paw print at the end*

    Lazul the Sphinx
    Last edited by Rho; 07-19-2004, 01:55 PM.
    Has left on a break as of December 9, 2004.
    Might be back, might not.
    Live long and prosper.

  • #2
    [nice summary, but it seems to be written IC, so it should be in the IC board]


    • #3
      [I was wondering that myself, the thing is that most of the 'Teaching newbies threads' are on this forum, so I'm unsure wheather I should just move it or rewrite it.]
      Has left on a break as of December 9, 2004.
      Might be back, might not.
      Live long and prosper.


      • #4
        You gave advice without handing out a "How to" guide. Thank you, we need more advice/guides like this.
        Vote GR
        Vote GR
        Originally posted by A Dwarf Engineer
        Crossbows were good and fine, but nowadays, a gun is better - and if a gun is good, then an automated self-aiming gyro-mounted gun turret with a cyclic grenade feeder and napalm cannister is even better yet!


        • #5
          Yes, good advice. I've been wanting to try making a shaman, but I'm still unhappy with my unsuccessful Myndil.

          I am currently trying out a Savage Lich, but I'm not sure I can enjoy this build fully without being able to use Hide and Sneak Attack. I'm not playing him much right now anyways, but when I tier Nadriel and get him up to level 100, I'm going to play on my social a bit more. I might decide to remake as a Savage Troll, or make a Shaman Sphinx instead. The former I have planned out a great build for, the latter I have a general idea of how I'd RP him, not to mention I have more fun with chimera.

          I rather prefer advice over how-to. I have this thing about gaining power mostly on my own talent and skill.
          Current Monster: Nadriel the Hydra

          "It's easy to criticize someone who generates an idea, assumes the risk."


          • #6
            Great stuff...I had considered doing an IC thing like this too.

            How-to's have thier merit (like my site), but I do enjoy something like this much much more.



            • #7
              *Glows* Thanks guys! Here's hoping it gets made a sticky.

              The original intent when I started writing down my thoughts wasn't on making a 'how to' guide... at least not in the classical sence. I wanted to express how a shaman ought to act with his skills to others, show some 'etiquete', and generally how to kick arse.

              I'll probably add some more to it later, once I get around to verbalizing my thoughts.
              Has left on a break as of December 9, 2004.
              Might be back, might not.
              Live long and prosper.


              • #8
                *Yawns* Oh my, I must have dozed off there, having a little cat-nap you see. My, what a pleasant surprise! So you’ve come back to learn some more? How delightful! What would you like to-… you want to know how best to train as a shaman? Well, that’s a rather broad subject, but I think we can narrow it down.

                On Generalists and Specialists:

                My friend Fierem the Phoenix once pointed out how shamans have a difficult time starting out, because we have so many things to become good at all at once. The plethora of shaman spells available to you is no doubt quite intimidating, and the choice between spells is made all the more daunting because of how useful they all are. I’ll not talk about how best to combine these spells, rather how you ought to train them.

                Each spell you learn will be useful in and of itself once learnt, however for them to be used to their best effect in battle they will need to be developed and trained to a considerable degree. This is where the difference between Generalists and Specialists come in: some shamen prefer to train they’re spells one at a time so that the few spells they have are potent and effective; other shamen, seeing the myriad ways one can be attacked opt to learn many spells and train them just enough to be effective. These later shamen essentially become a Jack-of-all-trades. Both techniques have their strengths and weaknesses, but what it basically boils down to, ignoring all the minutia of spell combinations, is flexibility vs. specialization.

                There’s no wrong way to go, and both paths will eventually end at the same place once you’ve mastered your role, but the paths traveled by these two approaches are quite different. I myself have sometimes wished that, instead of learning X spell I had used the time to more fully master another. Then again, there are also times where my flexibility has carried the battle. Being a specialist carries the benefit of allowing you to excel at your chosen area much sooner than if you balanced your training among several spells and skills, however it may end up causing you to be out of your depth in many situations. While diversifying your spells and skills does leave you relatively weak in the short run, it makes you more versatile in the long run. As you grow and learn, choose which approach you would rather have, or a mix of the two, with strengths in one specific area while also training other spells.


                Again, I can not stress enough that for a shaman: Balance is key. Whichever path you chose to follow, do not forget to balance your spell training with training for you physical body. It will do you no good to be a master healer if you are too frail to take more than one claw swipe. This is especially true for the specialist approach to training, but is embodied more fully in the generalist philosophy.

                The generalist approach carries another danger, the exact opposite of the specialists… biting off more than you can chew. A generalist may end up splitting his attentions on so many competing areas that none are where they should be. For example, it does a monster no good if he knows five powerful spells but they are all equally weak. This is why I chose to train with a mix of these two approaches, where I focus on individual aspects of training as part of a larger regimen, never focusing exclusively on one area to maintain versatility. I would encourage you to experiment and choose what is best for you, the methods I have outlined here are by no means the only ones.

                Now, if you’ll excuse me, It’s time for my afternoon cat-nap. I’m sure you have much to think on, and I would encourage you to choose the approach you find most suits you. Now get going before I get grumpy.

                *Signed simply with a blue paw print*
                Lazul the Sphinx

                Has left on a break as of December 9, 2004.
                Might be back, might not.
                Live long and prosper.


                • #9
                  My OOC bit.

                  Shamen are VERY VERY VERY underestimated. Half the newbies that start out as shamen remake as something else, mostly warriors. And it saddens and irritates me that they don't give the job half the chance it deserves.

                  Personally, I LOVE hearing things like:

                  "Toast, come to the entrance and heal me, please?"

                  "Hey Toast, could you cast your enchantments on me?"

                  "Could you heal my skellies, Toast? I'll give you a ring."

                  "Could use some healing and your protective sphere at <suchandsuch> Fane, Toastee."

                  It makes me feel important, and I love helping out my clanmates. Not to mention, defense wise, Shaman are THE strongest. Even against warriors. Carapace, Endure, Sphere of Protection, Spirit Shield, Heal, Cure: the makings of a VERY powerful character. One Haste, and they're perfect.
                  <Zetsu the Vampire grumbles: [ GR's like meth... you try it once and for the next 10 years you're still hooked to it no matter how bad it gets ]>


                  • #10
                    Mmm? Why hello there! Such a pleasure to see you again, come with more questions have you? ... My goodness, you wish to know about the advanced shaman spells? Normally I would be hesitant to speak about these spells to one so young, too much knowledge being a dangerous thing and all that. However in this case too little knowledge would be far more dangerous.

                    To begin, Grendel has seen fit to teach his children new skills and new ways to use old ones. Some of the things you have learned no longer apply, and there are new things you should know.

                    On 'Splash' Healing

                    Most notably, Grendel has made Healing far faster and more powerful with the advent of 'splash healing', as some call it. If you followed some of my advice from our earlier talks, you should already be able to heal proficiently enough to heal everyone in your immediate area. While this is useful, it has a few serious limitations and a few considerations to keep in mind. Mid battle, healing everyone in the area is, needless to say, counterproductive. Realeasing your healing energies blindly about you may seem impressive and effective, but healing your enemies is not a good thing. A personal use of Heal on a specific target will allways be more effective than splash healing everyone present, as the latter will divide your healing energies unevenly among all the creatures in the area (friend and foe alike).

                    If you remember our talk on healing ettiquete from earlier, you will also begin to see why using splash healing in places like the shrine or in the presence of other (non enemy) monsters might be ill advised. As impressive as splash healing is, using it indiscriminately can be seen as showing off and the recipients of the heal might not apreciate or want to be healed, for whatever personal reasons.

                    With these consideration in mind, splash healing has quite a few positive uses. If you and your friends are being targeted by ranged magic attacks or arrows, it is often very useful to use splash healing to quickly find out who is hurt and heal them in the process. While each hurt monster in the area absorbs a portion of the healing energy you release, if there are only one or two hurt monsters they will benefit from the heal allmost as much as if it were a personal heal. This is very useful to use after a battle when you aren't sure who is hurt among your allies. However; remember that each splash heal is not as powerful as single healings, so some of your allies might require more focused attention.

                    Once mastered more fully, you can choose to heal only your allies at a given location. This has many useful tactical advantages over the earlier splash healing, as you can use this while hunting in packs or capturing fanes without worry for aiding your enemies. Again, you should be mindful that those that are in the most need of healing get it, for example: lets say that you and your pack are the targets of a splashing magical attack and an archer. While splash healing will remedy the magical attack to an extent, whoever is the target of the archer will need personal healings.

                    [On Splash Curing

                    Grendel has also seen fit to make Curing poisons and disease like Heal in this respect. It is very important that you not let the ability to cure the ailments of all present go to your head. Magical social chimera and wandering chimera can use their Poison Breathing to devastating effect. Whats more, they have the benefit of being able to focus their venemous breath to great lengths. Splash curing can give you the impression that you can completely counter these attacks, you can't. Not without incredible lengths of training, at least.
                    Much like the earlier dilema with the archer and the mage, the use of a focused Poison Breath leaves the main target far more sick than any of the other incidental targets, so that clanmate will need at least one personal casting of Cure to every clan wide casting you do.

                    On a lighter note; I have found that it can be very useful when hunting in packs to use splash curing after a battle, as poisons can only felt by those so poisoned. Since I regularly hunt with a poison breather I can say that for large packs clan curing will be very useful, focused though he is sometimes a clanmate catches a wiff of his toxic fumes, and as a shaman keeping track of who is so poisoned is daunting.

                    On Packs

                    Shaman are, by and large, made for pack hunting. I speak only for myself, but I can tell you that I feel most accomplished, most needed when I hunt as part of a pack. If you can find monsters around your strength with whom to hunt, do so, it is infinitely more rewarding than hunting alone, for the companionship, things you learn and humans you slay. To get the most of these hunting experiences, here are some tips:
                    -=Î=- Do not cast your protection spells until the combat starts, you will learn more by casting a Sphere of Protection or Carapace under battle conditions than in the calm before a battle.
                    -=Î=- Even if your attack is weak compared to your packmates, make at least an effort to approach and attack your prey. If no one is in need of healing or protecting, this is something productive to do.
                    -=Î=- If you are not hard pressed by your attackers, take the time to practice casting some of your other protection spells (Perhaps an Endure in a melee, or a Carapace in a magical attack duel) on yourself and your packmates.
                    -=Î=- If you are hard pressed by your attackers, do not be afraid to withdraw and heal yourself. A shaman never protected anyone by dying. Advise your clanmates you (and they) will do this, to avoid any hard feelings.


                    I have already spoken at some length on Endure, but in light of the new realities of magical attacks it bears some revising.

                    Grendel has seen fit to increase the scope of magical attacks to do other effects aside from the damage they naturally inflict. If your skill at Endure is sufficiently great to absorb multiple magical attacks, you will likely evade the side effects of these magical attacks. However, there is no guarantee that this will happen consistently. An enemy in the act of breaking your shield, while you won't suffer injury, probably will inflict you with the magical after effects of his attack.

                    These new conditions have made things... interesting, to say the least. I am currently still investigating more into the interactions between Endure's and magical attacks, but I can tell you this: Don't just stand and recast. I have said before that you should try to remain on a proactive stance, lest you become simply reactive. The danger now is much more apparent, as the after effects slowly pile up, if you can't quickly purge them they will make your life difficult and possibly kill you. What you choose to do is up to you: Retreat for a while, attack the magic user, remove the side effects, etc. The point I'm trying to make is that you do something other than just recast your Endure.

                    On Wards

                    Grendel has seen fit to make Wards usable outside the lair. Let me tell you, it was very wise on his part. While I dream of the day that the shamans of Uthgol will grow enough in power and unite to cover the island in anti human Wards, that day is still a long way off. I will admit that while I haven't had the time to train it extensively, it has proven very useful. I will let you imagine the many uses this spell has, I'll just remind you of a few of its limitations:
                    -=Î=- Used outside of your clan lair, it is only half as potent. Essentially, don't expect it to be overwhelmingly powerful.
                    -=Î=- It will take a good bit of training to make it useful in everyday hunting, but when it reliably stops your spawned humans... well, watch out.
                    -=Î=- As wards are allways weaker outside your lair, remember to expect that while they may keep out the rabble and hurt your equals, those stronger than you will rarely be troubled by them.

                    Now don't get discouraged, Wards may have limits but that's outside the lair. On the other hand, Inside your clan's lair there will be no stronger defense. Sadly there are no fool proof doors or traps a builder can make to stop intruders, but a sufficiently strong and caste apropriate Ward will be the proverbial 'rock' to compliment the 'hard place' of traps a builder can make. If your clan has trouble with tresspassers, there is no door that is as impassible as a ward. If you have the means, set them in as many teleporter chambers, stairwells and other important places as you can. Try to talk to your clans lead builder(s) to come up with places and strategies on how best to place your Wards in the lair.

                    On Sacrifice

                    Sadly, I don't know anything about this skill first hand. If someone reading this scroll wishes to add their own experiences and thoughts on this spell, please feel free to do so.

                    Here is my advise and I'll warn you up front that this is mostly conjecture:
                    -=Î=- To get the most out of this spell, try and make the contacts with monsters of the two other castes so you can get caste appropriate grunts easily.
                    -=Î=- Failing that, familiarize yourself with the uses of small scrolls.
                    -=Î=- If you live in a pure caste clan try to make a grunt pen or room in your lair with grunts from other castes in it (make sure you'r clan leader approves of having grunts from another caste in your lair, some leaders can get very... displeased... at even the thought of even a grunt from another caste in his lair).

                    *Signed simply with a blue pawprint at the end*
                    Lazul the Sphinx
                    Has left on a break as of December 9, 2004.
                    Might be back, might not.
                    Live long and prosper.


                    • #11
                      On sacrifice:

                      Sacrificing grunts of different castes will have different effects on living and unliving targets.

                      Skeleton grunt - Will encase the target in a shield of bone. The bone shield will block any and all attacks aside from iron claw and poisonbreath. Favoring sacrifice will increase the duration and strength of this shield.

                      Harpy grunt - Will dramatically imrove the target's energy for a duration.

                      Goblin grunt - Will dramatically improve the target's strength for a duration.

                      It is also possible to sacrifice a grunt of any caste for a fallen party memeber regardless of the elapsed duration of their death.

                      One drawback to this skill is that it requires a grunt that is minioned to the shaman. Without grunt mastery or a friendly raiser, you will experience many trips running back and forth to the shrine and your breeding pit.
                      [Success: 5, Roll: 88] You twist slightly, throwing a straight strike at a brute with the palm of your rear hand. Critical Hit! A shriek from a brute marks the deep pierce by your right hand to a brute's groin.

                      If Chuck Norris played TEC, he'd be Ibios.

                      No he wouldn't you idiot. He'd be Praxum.