Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stacking Has Returned! *throws confetti*

With last week's patch, included with it was the removal of the ability for non-mage classes to 'stack' damage.  Simply, this was defined as the ability to simultaneously run auto-attacks during your skill spam.  This resulted in a sort of 'double-attack' as your auto-attack always ran in the background while you launched skills at your targets.  Many players, to my surprise, were unaware of this.  Many claimed to have never done it, but really they have, they just never noticed it.  It was impossible NOT to do it unless you went around 1-hitting everything.

Stacking was essential for any class or subclass that chose, or was forced via prestige subclass choice, that used a lighter damage weapon.  In the case of the SharpShooter, the choice was made mainly because of the bow's high rate of fire, 1.0/1.1 secs per attack for the bow vs 1.3/1.4 secs per attack for the xbow.  While kiting, this makes no difference, but in a standing still situation, it makes a world of difference.

So why would an archer choose NOT TO KITE when the option is there?  Let me explain....

There was some debate about this on the forums and I will just repost what I posted there, I'm a bit lazy to re-type/re-format the whole thing, but you'll get the idea.

A statement was given by a player that only the Fighters benefit from stacking.  This is clearly not the case and I argued it as follows:

it's VERY noticeable on an archer, especially a bow user/sharpshooter. i don't spend all of the time kiting. i actually do quite a bit of stationary AOE'ing and having that extra boost of dmg from the simultaneous auto-attack was a nice bonus to have.

it also made aoe'ing around mixed ranged/melee mobs a lot easier. i could target the ranged mob with autoattack while dropping aoes on the melee types. this was helpful especially in maps like LN where the baridons and alcas may hang out just outside of the main scrum.

it was also beneficial in boss fights. having high evasion allowed me to not have to kite to stay alive while taking advantage of the bonus of the auto attack stacking damage with my skill chain.

so yes, this change does affect 3 of the 4 classes largely depending on your playstyle. i don't think it's a game-breaking, end-of-the-world change like others feel, and tbh, it makes sense that it shouldn't have been how it was (i mean how do u physically swing your sword 2 times @ once?), i guess i'm just lamenting its demise more than anything.

It was further argued in another post, by an archer no less, that non-kiting is inefficient.  Again, as a proponent of other methods of play, I begged to differ.

(name removed) mentioned that this stationary method of AOE'ing is inefficient and to an extent yes, it is. however, it does have it's applications in the right environment. for example:

Click the image to open in full size.

bear with me, i'm a 105 SS trying to recreate screenies of stuff i did 20 levels ago... but in this instance, and along with duoing maps like TR, is where this technique worked brilliantly.

in burning rock, doing the JT repeat, how efficient is it really to kite all 100 JTs that were needed for a quest complete? well tbh, u didn't have to kite them at all since they died fairly quickly, but u did have the magmatons to deal with as u moved from JT to JT. so in order to maximize my time and energy there, i used to actually use my mover to gather magmatons and JTs and then use this stationary AOE technique (along with a +9 BK Bow) to wipe them all out. i did also have a +9 BK Xbow, but the bow was far more efficient in this practice than the xbow was. typically the JTs wouldn't follow all the way in or there were just more that spawned near the pile i accumulated. JTs go down fast enough with a bow that u didn't need to focus a skill spam on them. the bow-using archer was able to focus the AOE drops onto the pile of magmatons while just firing off auto-attacks at the JT. With each quest complete, i also racked up nearly 6m exp in magmaton kills when on 100% boost. so u couple that with the 1.5m u get from the JT quest, and u get a nifty 7.5m exp with each trip back to uruga. (HEY! look at that! about the same benefit as the DT run that you can't get as an archer
u do need an exp card tho >.<)

Click the image to open in full size.

duoing in TR, my cleric friend (shout out to luke) and I would pull the corner rooms and ramps and use the same technique to take down the mage trumpies. we would pull A to B and stop and AOE, then pull C to D and do the same running the entire circuit of TR non-stop. this was after piercing shot @ 75 of course. the technique worked extremely well here also.

Click the image to open in full size.

modern applications: so here is what i do currently to pass the time, lvling my BB license off to the side away from the main BB party aoe'ing. i pull 3-5 of the bears that they don't normally pull (the 106 BBs that spawn near the far house, phouch side) and just stand there and aoe them. i'm not about to go kite 5 BBs, and really i don't mind the extra stones since it no longer costs me a speed scroll (FYI @ 105 i can buy 256 HP stones for every 1 t4 speed scroll) to get what i need done. obviously to be 'most efficient' i would kite the whole area, but what kind of upstanding citizen of Bijou would that make me since there was a party already established in the area? sure i could find another spot, kite the 107s or 108s or even go to DL and kite there, but u know what? more times than not i just don't have the energy to do it. this gives me a simple, easy alternative to kiting even though it is less efficient from an exp/hr standpoint but i'm okay with that. i can share the area, be close to town, work my license on the lowest, easiest variant of Black Bear and still easily chat with my guild between kills.

kiting is not the be all, end all of being an archer. it is our greatest gift, but it's not bad to think outside of normal conventions as well.

so yes, this stacking change is an issue for me, but no, it won't make me love my sharpshooter any less. i'll have to work harder and longer, but nobody said it was gonna be easy anyway.

despite the loss of my auto-attack stack, i still am and will continue to follow the technique i described above when it is applicable. yellow mobs, 50 dex build, 2563 base def, and 1784 base evasion allows me a lot of freedoms when it comes to play style. heck i still carry around a +10 HG xbow, but i'm trying to ween myself off of it as much as possible. once i get my 105 Ashur bow to +10, it'll be gone for good. good bye old friend. =)

But thankfully, this issue has been resolved and stacking is returning with the patch that runs tonight.  I missed having it this past week and I'm extremely happy to see its return.  However, with it gone, I think it did open up some players' eyes to the plight of other classes and perhaps exploring different playstyles.  The method I described above is unusual, but it works really well in the right situation.  

1 comment:

  1. Is it just me or is the bow taller than your archer? What type of bow is that? Us archers so short...lol.


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