â??-Basic PvP Strategies-â??
(For simplicity's sake, the Barbarian skill will be referred to as "Freeze," the Witch's Curse skill will be referred to as "Frog," and the Chain Lightning skill will be referred to as "CL" throughout this guide. "X-spam" refers to constant, rapid firing of a priest's/shaman's basic "x" attack. When describing combos, (skill) indicates that a skill's use is optional.)
Before we start talking about advanced PvP strategies, let's get the basics out of the way. Here are a few things to keep in mind:â?? Basic Offensive Tactics
At the most basic level, priests/shamans have three primary choices when choosing to go on the offensive in PvP:
3) CL (Lock)
If you want to maximize your effectiveness, you'll have to become a master at all three. Here are a few tips for using each offensive option:[Debuffs]
- "Debuffs" refers to skills that either reduce or eliminate your enemy's ability to fight effectively. This refers most often to the skills Freeze, Frog and Quagmire.
- CL could also be considered a debuff in some sense, since it can lock enemies in place and also creates an invisible "danger field" (no relation to the legendary Rodney), which effectively forces most enemies to steer clear or risk being caught in your little web of lightning (although some enemies can employ tactics to avoid this fate -- more on that later).
- Debuffs are essential to a priest's/shaman's ability to create and maintain a combo. There are many possible combos (and I certainly won't list even half of them here), but generally, you will want to use 1)Freeze, 2)Frog and 3)Quagmire in a certain order, followed by X-spam. Which order you should use changes depending on your situation and skill level. For instance:
(Again, please note: (skill) indicates that a skill's use is optional, but may prove effective at that point in the combo.)
...is a useful combo for beginners, because if the Freeze connects and freezes its target, hitting the target with the other attacks becomes extremely easy while it remains frozen in one spot. The Quagmire will also make it easier to follow-up with extra attacks. Keep in mind, however, that Freeze only has a 4-second duration, so you must use your follow-up Frog attack quickly or you will miss your opportunity to combo. This combo is also useful for attacking enemies at a slight distance, since the range of Freeze is a bit greater than that of Frog, giving the initial attack greater reach.
...is a slightly more advanced combo, because once Frog takes effect, your target will still be able to move and jump to try to avoid your follow-up attacks (unless it was afflicted with a movement- or jump-canceling effect beforehand). This means you will have to use careful timing to ensure Freeze hits the frogged target. The plus side is that Frog lasts for up to 25 seconds, so at max skill level, it will leave you with more time for continuing the combo -- but the longer it takes, the more likely you will be interrupted by your target's allies. Also, your target's frog status will be canceled as soon as it is hit with any damage-producing attack, which further intensifies the situation.
Let's look at Quagmire with a more critical eye.
...are combos with two different purposes -- the first combo is meant to temporarily disable your target, while the second is meant to give you a chance to do some damage. You may choose to lay down a quagmire to start the combo, in the middle, or at the end, depending on your skill level and the situation. For instance, starting any combo with Quagmire is difficult when dealing with fast-moving targets who jump often (Quagmire only affects targets on the ground) or who are skilled at evading AoEs -- thus it will usually make more sense to save Quagmire until you have temporarily stunned or disabled your target in some way (or when your target is distracted or incapacitated by an ally's assault). Also, using Quagmire at the end of a combo is a useful tactic when you plan to retreat or regroup immediately afterward, because (if it affects its target) it will leave them more vulnerable to further combos after you have had time to prepare your next attack, heal yourself, etc. This "hit-and-run" tactic also works well with Frog.
Again, these are only a few of the many combos at your disposal as a priest/shaman. But hopefully, these examples will help get you thinking about creative approaches to attacking or disabling your enemies.[X-spam]
- As explained previously, X-spam refers to spamming the "X" key to continually fire your basic attack. In the NA version of Dragonica Online, you must repeatedly press the "X" key for the maximum rate of fire, because simply holding down the "X" key creates a long delay between each attack. The rate of fire is also affected by the quality of your graphics card -- similar to archers' AAS -- because lag can slow it down considerably.
- The speed of your X-spam is also effected by attack speed (ASPD) buffs such as the buff provided by a "Hookah's Hat" (+20.0% ASPD). However, this only applies with your normal, base X-spam or an X-spam enhanced by Double Shot; an X-spam that is enhanced by Diffusion Cannon will not be affected by ASPD buffs.
- X-spam is far and away your #1 way damage-dealer as a priest/shaman. In fact, it's one of the most efficient damage-dealing attacks in the whole game. If a target is stunned, incapacitated or somehow distracted, a priest/shaman can easily burn through its HP very rapidly with X-spam.
- Perhaps the best part of X-spam is the fact that it does not consume MP at all -- meaning you can use it to your heart's content without fear of being wasteful.
- X-spam can be improved with either of two skills: Diffusion Cannon or Double Shot. Diffusion Cannon is slightly more powerful, fires in three directions (in a spread pattern directly in front of your character), consumes MP when initially cast and produces three nifty rotating red orbs around your character while it is in effect. Double Shot is slightly weaker, fires two side-by-side shots directly in front of your character (hitting up to 2 targets 2 times each) and does not consume MP (it is a passive skill which, once learned, is always in effect). Please note: If you have Double Shot active and cast Diffusion Cannon, they do not stack. Diffusion Cannon will take effect, and after it expires, you will revert back to using Double Shot.
- Diffusion Cannon is useful while you're working up to level 40 as a priest. But once you hit level 40, it is generally agreed that Double Shot is far superior because it is a passive skill and it allows you to inflict maximum damage while maintaining a relatively safe distance from your enemy (because it fires both shots in a straight line). Diffusion Cannon has a greater overall maximum damage output (3 shots vs. 2, after all), but in order to achieve it you must be very, very close to your target, putting yourself at risk, because the angle of the top and bottom shots will only hit the same enemy as the middle (straight) shot if you are practically standing on top of the enemy.
- X-spam's biggest drawback is that -- upon using Diffusion Cannon or Double Shot -- it will force you to remain stationary while firing. HOWEVER!!!-->Please note, once we get the new Paris patch for our NA version, priests/shamans will reportedly be able to move while firing X-spam, even while using Diffusion Cannon or Double Shot.
- A secondary, but less-annoying drawback is the fact that X-spam only hits targets which are firmly on the ground. But it's rather easy to tell when an enemy is airborne once you know your way around in PvP, even if they are being suspended near the ground, so this shouldn't be a problem.
- X-spam is most effective when used against a stationary target (since you can fire rapidly without interruption), thus it is usually a good idea to use debuffs or some other tactic to lock your target before attacking. Firing a few random shots off every now and then can, in the long run, help wear down your enemies' HP -- but (pre-Paris patch) this tactic can leave you vulnerable. Once the new patch is released, of course, you'll be able to fire at will even while nimbly avoiding enemies' attacks -- but at a slower speed than dashing and while remaining on the ground, so it's probably best not to overuse this tactic.
- While locking a target and X-spamming it by yourself is certainly a tactic you should master, keep in mind that X-spam is also incredibly useful for increasing the damage caused to a target while it is being locked by one of your allies. For instance, if you see a paladin lock someone on the opposing team and you're not needed elsewhere (for healing, etc.), it's usually best to stop and take aim at the paladin's prey, because you will likely be able to finish off (or at least severely wound) the target before it manages to escape. This same tactic works well when you're on a team with Warmages, too, because they can freeze targets on the ground. (Read the CL section below for a tip involving X-spam and CL that can be used when 2 or more shamans are on the same team.)[CL (Lock)]
- Chain Lightning (CL) is one of a shaman's most versatile skills, but it is only as effective as the player using it. In the best situations, when used properly, it can devastate or eliminate an entire enemy team. If used recklessly or too often, however, it can easily leave you open to a multitude of deadly combos.
- It's important to understand how CL works. Essentially, once cast, your character enters a split-second animation after which a short bolt of lightning will extend from your character's palm, pointed directly in front of your character.
- The good news is, any opponent who touches this bolt (and does not avoid the effects through block/evade) will be stunned, locked in place, and take a small amount of damage once every second as long as you remain in "CL mode" (it lasts until you run out of MP, move/jump in any direction, flinch, or are knocked down/up into the air by an enemy attack). More good news: Any enemy who comes within a short distance of the first target will be stunned in the same fashion, following the same rules (hence the term "Chain" Lightning) -- at maximum level, the attack can spread to up to 10 additional targets. This "linking" effect can even extend to enemies who are slightly behind you (but the backwards range is extremely limited compared to the range in front, so be careful).
- The bad news is, opponents with high block rate/evade or those who know how to use lag to their advantage can escape the stun long enough to flee or even counterattack. Be wary of using the skill on enemies who have a block skill or high evade, who will get many opportunities to escape, and also of enemies who will do something on their end to help themselves lag out of the attack or spam a skill at such a high speed that it eventually fires and interrupts you. Furthermore, since you must remain stationary and CL can be interrupted by nearly any attack, it leaves you extremely vulnerable to long-range attacks (especially attacks from behind, opposite the "starting" bolt's direction).
- The damage produced by CL is pitiful compared to most attacks, so don't think of CL as a damage-dealing skill. Instead, think of it as a handy way to quickly interrupt or lock down opponents. Of course, using it on opponents with block rate/high evade rate is extremely risky, so only do that sparingly (usually only in dire circumstances or as a quick interrupt attempt).
- There are many ways to use CL effectively. Here are some of my favorite situations:
Scenario #1: Everyone from both teams is bunched together in an area of mass chaos. You're on the perimeter and going largely unnoticed, so you approach one of your enemies from behind, and... ZAP! Everyone (or nearly everyone) on the enemy team is brought down to the ground and stunned, giving your teammates a chance to escape locks/combos and regroup for a brutal counter assault.
Scenario #2: You see a teammate caught in an AoE lock/combo, but if you rush in and try to use debuffs to help free them, you're likely to get caught up in the carnage, yourself. SOLUTION! You maintain a safe distance from the enemy, leaving just enough room to hit them with CL, and save your teammate without actually entering the enemy's attack range. This is particularly effective when a teammate is being attacked by two or more enemies simultaneously -- just be aware that one of them might break away to come after you.
Scenario #3: You're on a team with another shaman. Either you or your buddy manages to catch an enemy with CL, locking them down. Time for some MASSIVE DAMAGE! Start X-spamming the target (ALWAYS from BEHIND, to avoid lag/block/evade-induced counterattacks) while it is stunned by CL, and together, you should make short work of it. ALSO! If you see another enemy approaching to interrupt the CL, whoever is X-spamming can either try to detain them with Frog or use CL on the initial target in such a way that it will be difficult for the enemy to interrupt both you and the other shaman at once. Taking turns CL-ing the first target and dealing with the second, you may be able to keep the lock going a bit longer (or, if you're lucky, you may be able to catch the second enemy in your lock, as well).
Scenario #4: You're all alone, being hunted by two or more enemies. If escape is not an option, you can try to fool them into a CL stun or try to catch one of them off guard while they are using a skill. Both are risky, but doing something is better than doing nothing. Laying down a Quagmire or landing a hit with Freeze can make it a bit easier, so keep those options in mind.
Scenario #5: You made a mistake. You jumped or dashed and landed yourself right in the path of a warmage's Blizzard or Snow Blues (Penguin) attack. But you notice that you're at just the right range, and with a split-second decision, you use CL and catch the warmage in a CL stun just before you are frozen -- and the best part is, it will continue throughout the duration of the freeze effect and even after it wears off, meaning you'll be in prime position to make a hasty getaway or keep the warmage locked down for a teammate to deal with.
Scenario #6: You're in an Emporia War (EW), and your teammates are hacking away at an enemy sub-core or the enemy's main core when you see members of the enemy team closing in to interrupt their progress. You line yourself up with the core, hit it with CL, and TAH-DAH! Any enemy who gets too close is likely to be stunned and left helpless to attack or defend. HOWEVER! The enemy team will usually catch on to this pretty quickly, so don't get too comfortable. Always be ready to make some evasive maneuvers.
These are just a few of the many situations in which CL can prove extremely useful, but it should be enough to get you thinking. Just keep in mind that CL will always leave you vulnerable in one way or another, so never let your guard down.
-One last tip for using CL: Try not to overdo it. It can actually burn through MP pretty quickly in a long fight, and there are going to be plenty of times when healing teammates, keeping yourself out of harm's way or using a debuff on an enemy should take priority over using CL. Furthermore, enemies will quickly take notice if you're spamming CL trying to catch someone and will set themselves up to take advantage of you -- sometimes one enemy will even take the hit on purpose so you will be rendered immobile long enough for one of their allies to catch you in a punishing combo or lock you down.â?? Basic Defensive Tactics/Healing
Playing defensively is important for all classes in DO, but especially so for priests/shamans.
While priests/shamans can heal (and often), many novice players make the mistake of relying too much on that ability and become overconfident, throwing themselves haphazardly at the enemy team while mistakenly believing that they will always have a chance to pull back and heal if their HP starts to drop. That may be a sound strategy in the early stages of the game, when players are using fairly standard equipment and limited combos -- but once you advance to the higher levels (40+), you will quickly learn that some classes (archers and warmages, in particular) can be very effective shaman-killers in the right player's hands.
In the later stages of the game, it makes much more sense for a priest/shaman to play defensively. What does this mean? Well, here's some personal advice from yours truly -- a few tips, or just things to keep in mind:
- As a priest/shaman, ALWAYS REMEMBER that your #1 duty in PvP is to keep yourself and your teammates alive. This might seem like common sense, but in truth, too many priests/shamans focus so much on offensive tactics that they forget their primary role as healers. Ideally, you should always play the support role (heals, debuffs/locks, saving teammates who are in trouble, and an occasional X-spam barrage) -- let your teammates focus on dealing most of the heavy damage and eliminating enemies (that's why they have so many offensive skills, while priests/shamans are rather limited in that department). I can't tell you how many times I helped my team win a difficult fight simply by keeping my distance from the enemy and being ready to heal or free anyone caught in an otherwise deadly combo/lock.
- One of priests'/shamans' greatest strengths is that they have large amounts of MP and consume MP at a much slower rate than most other classes. This means that you will usually be able to outlast just about anyone, as long as you can keep yourself out of harm's way. Thanks to the MP Transfer skill, it also means that you can act as a mobile "MP battery," recharging any teammates who run low on MP before a round is over. This nifty trick can often mean the difference between victory and defeat -- and if you're good at it, your teammates won't have to worry about keeping an eye on their MP consumption and can instead focus on eliminating the enemy as quickly as possible. In some battles, that will make all the difference.
- Know the facts about your healing skills, because you can only maximize their potential if you know how they work. Instant Heal, for example, can be used to heal teammates while they are in midair, which means you can cast it while they are being juggled in the air by an enemy combo and save them even if they're only a moment away from death. Wide (Area) Heal packs a greater punch and restores more HP than Instant Heal, but it also has a long cast time and only affects targets on the ground. HOWEVER, you can counteract this if you make sure you keep Casting Acceleration on at all times -- with it, Wide Heal's cast time becomes almost instant. Slow Heal is a skill you should be casting once every 30 seconds or so in PvP, in more or less every situation. At maximum level, it acts as an effective "regeneration" skill that will help you and your teammates endure much more damage than you could otherwise. IN SUMMARY, always keep Slow Heal on, and give Instant Heal priority over Wide Heal unless you're waiting for Instant's cooldown.
- Don't waste Instant Heals. Not because they consume a ton of MP, but rather because the skill has a long cooldown (8 seconds). That might not seem like a long time, but 8 seconds is plenty of time for a flurry of combos to kill your or a teammate, so play it safe -- try to only heal allies when they fall near or below 60% of their maximum HP. While every shaman will have a different preference in this regard, this is what I, personally, consider to be the most effective indicator of a teammate who is headed into the "danger zone." They're not quite there yet, but they will be soon enough -- and this also gives you a little wiggle room in case you need to attend to two or more teammates who are in different locations on the map in a short time. Ultimately, of course, it all depends on the teammates' defense ratings and skill levels -- if you play with the same people regularly, you will start to learn who you can trust to survive on their own in an emergency and who should take priority in a situation where several teammates (who are far apart) both need saving (usually, the one who gives your team the greatest chance of getting more kills).
- Resurrection doesn't work in PvP. Don't use it.
- The priest skill Lightning Strike can be an effective tool for escaping enemies, especially if you react in time to use it just before they activate a skill. With proper timing, you can actually hit them the moment before they release their attack and avoid taking any damage, yourself -- but this is a tactic that is hard to master. It's also useful for interrupting certain ground-based combos, but again, your timing must be spot-on.
- Don't bother using (or, for that matter, putting any points into) the Barrier skill. It won't last long enough in most PvP situations to make it worth the cast time.
- Perfect Seal grants a shaman complete invulnerability. Sounds like the perfect defensive skill, right? Well, only half so, because it also prevents you from using any other skills until the duration ends -- and that means no debuffs, no CL, and worst of all, NO HEALS. Learn to use Perfect Seal strategically. For instance, when you know you're about to be launched into the air for an AAS barrage by an archer and it's doubtful anyone will be able to save you. Or when you notice you're about to be frozen by a warmage's Blizzard or Snow Blues (Penguin) skill, which usually indicates the beginning of a looong and often deadly combo.
- CL can be a great defensive tool. If you see a teammate locking an enemy and another enemy on the way to help, using CL on the first target can be a great way to stop the second enemy from interrupting your teammate's assault. Be careful, though, b/c CL will mess up some classes' combos (myrmidons, for instance), so learn when it's appropriate and when it's probably best to resort to using standard debuffs, instead.
- Playing defensively can be an effective offensive tactic, at times. If you're smart about it, you can lure an enemy toward you (within range of a debuff) and lock them up when they get too close. Just be ready to go into retreat mode if you mess up.
- The shaman skill Cure is incredibly important. It has a low MP cost, instant cast time, and it immediately removes debuffs from teammates in the immediate area. Learn how to recognize the signs that a teammate is being affected by a debuff, and remove these pesky effects whenever possible.
- AT ALL COSTS, try to avoid being afflicted with the Silence effect. Once it hits you, you're severely limited -- and since you can't heal, it places you in grave danger (see next tip).
- As a general rule, you can expect that smart enemies will always come after you (or any priest/shaman) early on in a match. Since you can heal your teammates, that makes you a tremendous threat, and most opponents will decide that you should be eliminated before they try to go after your teammates (otherwise, they'll be wasting MP damaging opponents who will simply be healed). Always be aware that you are at the top of everyone's hit list, and play accordingly. If someone is tagging you, you can try to shake them off -- usually by retreating to be near a powerful teammate or by hiding in an area where a lot of skill effects are firing and causing confusion and chaos. HOWEVER, be careful if you decide to take cover near a teammate, because you might end up getting them caught up in whatever nastiness is headed your way.
- Learn to play according to your team's strengths and play style. If everyone is playing defensively and waiting for enemies to approach, don't go charging off alone. If everyone is headed right into the middle of a tornado of destruction, follow -- at a safe distance.
[More to come. Currently under construction.]
Edited by Rimmy, 22 September 2010 - 10:32 AM.