Monster Play Raiding
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|General Topics: Ranks, Raiding|
|Creep Topics: Classes, Blessings, Skins, Quests, Titles, Troll Sessions|
|Freep Topics: Armour Sets, Quests, Titles, Ranger Sessions|
Raiding in Monster Play is quite a bit different than raiding in the rest of the game. There are things to consider that you don't normally have to worry about, as well as differences depending upon which side you are fighting for.
Spying, tracking your enemies' movements, defending locations and not facing "scripted" encounters most of the time need to be taken into consideration. The fact that you probably can't field a full force of friends who are all playing the right classes means you won't have an "optimal team" to fight by your side either. Your main opponents are thinking players and they will react differently than scripted creatures - sometimes making smart choices and other times doing the opposite - so their actions are harder to predict. For example, following an opponent through areas filled with hostile NPCs in order to finish them off may seem like a good idea to some, but they are often proven wrong.
PvE versus PvMP Raiding
For raids outside of PvMP, you generally pick the team based upon the classes you will need for the raid or encounter. If you are going to the Rift or Helegrod or any other major raid location, the Raid Leader can make sure all necessary roles, tasks and functions are covered within the groups. Tactics tend to be based upon the composition of the team, and because you are taking on scripted encounters, you can predict each fight, schedule breaks and know when/where you will need to do what, in order to come out victorious.
In PvMP, raids tend to form from those who are both in the zone and willing to group up, and that can be without any healers or other roles. The idea is usually "you bring yours and I bring mine, and don't expect me to cover for you if you forgot to bring yours". Such attitudes don't go over as well in a PvE encounter, but in the PvMP world things are different. Raiding is less predictable and therefore more challenging than in PvE, and the success or failure of a raid rests largely upon the shoulders of the raid leader. They will be expected to get the raid through all encounters and adjust their tactics based upon the composition of the group and its strengths and weaknesses.
When raids are formed based strictly upon who shows up, you really don't get to pick how many players of each class to bring. You also don't get to pick how well-geared and traited everyone is, nor can you tell anyone to stock up on supplies for the run. Some might come fully stocked, packing the best gear and traits, but more frequently you will end up with teams that are a mixed bag with some very experienced raiders and others who are new and won't know much about which class can do what nor what the raid will face. Take into consideration that some players may only have leveled a player character to 10, and therefore may understand very little about game mechanics and even less about the capabilities of the many different freep classes. Thus the tactics for any given situation will really depend upon the quality and experience of the players that happened to show up to your raid versus that of the opponents facing you. A lot of flexibility in how you approach any given encounter will be required.
Welcome to Monster Play Raiding!
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Freep vs Creep Raiding
The Monster Player side tends to be a bit more difficult to determine your raid strengths and composition than the Freep People's forces.
When freeps enter the moors, they come in knowing that they will be at risk. The "safe" areas, for them to stock up on supplies, get coin, etc... is the ENTIRE world outside of the Monster Play limited zone so they have as much, or as little, time preparing as they decide to spend for a PvMP session. Yes, there are some that go to the moors to collect resources (it is a resource rich area of the world) but those numbers tend to be smaller (by far) than those who came there to "fight the creeps". This does not mean that everyone on the freep side will be willing to join a raid; some prefer soloing in the moors by hunting for soloing "low rank" creeps.
When the freeps check on /who for the zone, every last person they see on that list may be free to help them out in a raid. For the creep side, you will usually have several creeps "busy" doing quests, deeds (for maps and/or DP) and hunting to get coin/DoF stones for the supplies that keep them alive through combat. Just because there are a lot of creeps showing in the /who window, doesn't mean all of them are available to help fight. Many are unwilling to go join a raid until after they are done collecting what they need to advance/supply their character.
Creeps are always in the moors. There are no "safe spots" to stock up on coin, supplies, etc... Once a creep leaves Gramsfoot, every minute, in every last location, has some degree of risk of them being attacked by 1+ freeps and you cannot get coin (nor DoF stones for barter) to stock up on supplies while sitting in Gramsfoot.
There isn't a single creep, who's spent time in the moors, that hasn't seen some angry/frustrated messages in the OOC channel about "where are all the creeps?!?!?" when the creeps are having tough fights. Simply put -- SOME are "always" busy doing what they need to do to improve their character and that does not mean being in a creep raid every hour they are on-line. If the delving hasn't been available for a bit, you can expect some (through most) of your creeps to be a bit busy restocking on stones from there. Those stones let them barter for skills, corruptions, traits and supplies, even at the highest ranks. Those potions and suppliesrequire the stones from DoF so many need to spend time "farming" the place to stock up comfortably. If you've ever seen the difference between a rank 5 without supplies versus a rank 5 packing +100 armor, +20% run-speed, +1k healing pots, etc.. You can easily see why some of those creeps are quite willing to invest the time to get those advanced potions and use them.
Most often, you will not be able to convince these folks to stop their PvE style hunting. This is necessary to improve their characters so simply joining "one more raid", when that is where they usually spend their time, is probably not going to happen. Without those traits... Without those "costly" consumables... Their characters "pay for it" by more defeats and less victories so they will hunt when they can versus when others may feel they should. Just realize they are busy and don't "blow a gasket" about the fact that up to 70% of the creeps "are busy" NOT helping fight the freeps versus other activities to improve their characters -- They are playing their chars; NOT YOU.
The core motivation to each side is to fight the other side -- freeps defeating creeps and creeps defeating freeps. Beyond that you have motivations on how and why you will pick certain places to fight and this is where the mind-set difference comes into play.
Freeps have far fewer motivations to fight and, if losing they can and will leave. Creeps have no where else to go so if they wish to play, they need others out there or the place gets really boring.
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Freeps have little, if any, reason for participating in Monster Play beyond the fight. They get nothing from it that they can't get elsewhere -- skills, traits, coinage, item drops, etc... NOTHING they get from going to the moors holds more than a trivial value to them. If the freeps are losing badly, expect them to leave. What reason do they have to stick around? They can play in any zone in the world and not deal with being beat down.
Freeps can more easily solo than creeps can. Any freep class can stand well against any creep class so often you can find soloing freeps and small teams roaming around, at will, hunting down the creeps. This can prove a problem in filling up a raid and if folks get annoyed with how a raid is progressing, some can and will leave to form up their own "little groups".
Independent groups do not communicate as well nor have access to all the information of a single larger group but they do function well in Monster Play -- mostly "green farming" low ranked creeps that are low on supplies or Destiny Points. These "soloing creeps" are far easier to pick off than facing a full enemy raid (this is how many build up high finishing blow counts freep side).
What such smaller teams and soloists tend not to get are "the big names". Most of your senior ranked creeps tend to be in the raid or know how to solo safely where they can get away from a small team of freeps. Where those higher ranked folks can usually be found is either in a main creep raid or very near by so if folks want to defeat those who hold "higher standing" (star count), they need to be near a main creep raid. Not being *IN* a main freep raid means you don't hear the "fall back to ..." nor "we're moving up to ..." type instructions nor do they get coverage from healers. Most healers prefer to be in larger groups where they have more folks covering them. So you can find yourself alone near groups of creeps while the main freep raid moved off -- not pleasant to deal with if the creeps start "tracking" freeps in the area. Soloists and small groups of freeps tend to get plowed under when found by creeps. You are usually better off joining a raid than soloing unless you plan on hunting only the weakest of the creeps out there.
Due to this lack of reason for being there, a raid leader that is yelling at the raid may find them self pretty close to soloing in the moors versus having a team to work with. Don't let the raid get annoyed too much if you really want an organized team to work with. A raid leader should also put a halt to any "temper fits" from members of the raid prior to the loss of major portions of your raid.
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Freep Keep Taking in the Ettenmoors
The reasons for them taking keeps are slim.
Tirith Rhaw (TR) and Lugazag (Lugz) can be worth while due to these 2 keeps providing closer rally points than Glan Vraig (GV) so they have value but only if the freeps are "in the mood" to push the fight to the creeps. Keeps also provide a nice spot for NPC support if you hold them. If the creeps hold the keep you are fighting near, the freeps will have periodic clearing sessions of the creep NPCs as they "repop" which can cost a freep raid.
Many freeps do not like taking 3 keeps. When the freeps take 3 keeps, they lose access to 1 of the 2 Rangers that they can play -and- grant access to a second Troll Session to their opponents. Two Trolls are a fearsome team when backed by even half a raid of creeps. Freeps have less reasons for taking other locations but, by taking 3 locations, they can "lock out" the creeps from going into DoF which can get more creeps out in the fields fighting them which, if you are there to fight, can be motivation to take 3+ keeps. More creeps to "pick on"...
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The Delving of Fror (freeps)
Some creeps think this is the only reason that the freeps come to fight in the Ettenmoors. This is a rather narrow point of view.
Few freeps come to the moors just to open up "one more dungeon" that drops items that they can get elsewhere easier. The armor does have value to some freeps and the stones can sell for decent gold in the Auction House but the truth of it all... The "rush for Delving Armor" ended shortly after the zone was introduced with book 12. Only for a couple weeks was this a primary concern for many freeps.
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For creeps, this is the only place in the world they can go. They don't have "safe places" to go stock up on coin nor supplies so creeps have no real other options if they wish to play, than to play here.
For a creep to improve, they must defeat freeps. They start much weaker than freeps and build slowly, only getting close to as powerful as their opponents, towards the highest ranks available. All the traits, skills consumables and abilities that the creeps need to improve their characters, are only gotten by defeating more powerful opponents -- freeps.
Yes -- from day 1 for pretty much their entire careers, creeps are weaker than freeps on a 1 versus 1 comparison and the only way to narrow that gap is to rank up and work as a team. Soloing creeps pretty much can't take out a freep 1 versus 1 so the creep side does form up groups and raids when they need to fight freeps.
Because creeps are weaker than freeps, it is in their best interest to form up into groups and raids. As such, creeps tend to "put up with" more than their freep counter parts. If a raid leader lets a raids mood sour or there is a lot of name calling, the raid may dissolve just to reform with a different leader -or- you may find the creep side shrinking in numbers with suddenly a LOT more freeps facing you.
Turbine, in their infinite wisdom, determined that it was a good idea to prevent freeps who'd entered the moors from going back in as creeps immediately while allowing creeps to flip to their freep char at a moment's notice. As such, "flippers" in the moors (those that change from creep to freep) aren't uncommon on some servers and those "flippers" sometimes have a grudge to settle with specific players who "ticked them off" creep side.
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Creep Keep Taking in the Ettenmoors
Taking keeps for the Monster Players have HUGE value. Not necessarily having the keeps but taking them. Holding at least 3 of the 5 contested keeps means that The Delving of Fror is available and this is a far higher concern to the creeps than to the freeps. No delving means no stones from there. No stones means more advanced traits and consumables are not obtainable and these advanced traits and consumables can make a huge difference in a player's ability to survive and win.
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The Delving of Fror (creeps)
Without access to The Delving, the creep forces are much weaker than they should be. You need the stones from here to procure improved corruptions, advanced skills and traits, enhanced resistances and all the "really nice" consumables that can make your survival and ability to take out freep opponents easier.
This means that the holding of 3 keeps, so creeps can obtain the stones by hunting in the delving, is a major concern to many creeps. Rank up and don't have the stones -- you won't be able to improve your characters strength so you are just worth more to drop without any additional work taken to drop you.
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Communications within your raid and with external groups/entities is crucial to your raids chances of success. There is a variety of ways to deal with communications and a lot depends upon which server you are playing on. Some run most raid information through the OOC channel (not the best method but it does have certain advantages), some run most raid information through voice communications while some use raid chat as their primary means of communications. You even have some situations where an external Ventrilo server is setup that is used for voice communications.
With the variety of tools, getting information of a type into the correct channel can be hard and chatter in any communications channel will happen. Raiders need to learn how to deal with channel chatter as well as managing which channels/methods folks use to communicate across the zone.
With all the various methods, I will try and provide some general guides to help but, as I stated at the beginning, a lot will depend upon your servers normal use. Retraining an entire population to new methods is not an easy task but it *might* be worth the effort -- that is a call to be made on a server-by-server basis.
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Raid Chat Channel
Stubbed for now...
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The in-game voice channel is available to all participants in the game. You don't need a mic to use the channel but having it turned on means you can hear the instructions a raid leader is giving if this is the chosen method of communications.
The voice channel is for a group or raid to use (only 1 voice channel available at a time and you must be in a group or raid to use a voice channel. If in a raid, your "chatter" is raid wide. If not in a raid, and only in a group, the "chatter" is with your group.)
Unlike external voice servers, there are no management tools for voice communications but they do get the job done and everyone has access to listening without installing 3rd party software. This means that you will have to ASK folks to keep it quiet versus squelching them and you can't individually increase nor decrease the volume of those "whisperer" and "MAGNIFIED VOICE OF GOD!" members of your raid.
The most important person to hear is the Raid Leader -- all others... They can type but that voice is one that you need to hear and pay attention to.
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External Voice Servers
The 2 most popular types are Ventrilo (Vent) and TeamSpeak (TS) with Vent being the more popular of the 2 systems. To use such software, everyone must agree to install the client software and someone has to have a server available for everyone to login to.
If it is a single tribe or kinship going to raid on their own, using an external server can work but if you are going to try and run more open raids, then it gets a lot harder to convince everyone to get the software, install it and configure it just to use some server that may or may not be up next week depending on "the sponsors" game play status.
The benefits of using such 3rd party software are many but the problems involved can easily be seen as far outstripping the gains. Most gains are simply in management of the communications channels and, with respect to Vent, the ability to independently adjust the volume of each person so if someone's mic is really loud, you can turn it down. If they are really quite, you can turn them up to hear better.
Overall, unless it is just a kinship or tribe, don't expect folks to go rushing out to download the client software to "ease communications". Most won't when the basic functions are built into the game itself.
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No, spies are not a myth. No, every other person is NOT a spy. No, you aren't going to easily pick out who is and who isn't a spy but there are basic precautions that one can take to see that the impact of these individuals is kept to a minimum.
A "Spy" is someone who takes information on where the creeps/freeps are at and what they are planning on doing, to pass that information to the other side. This is often done by someone "2-boxing" (2 computers, 1 logged in on a creep, 1 logged in on a freep), someone logged in to a Vent server or the like.
Very few folks can play chars on multiple machines that aren't together. By this I mean try and see yourself running a freep on that side, keeping up and working with a freep raid, while also running a creep and keeping up on THAT side with both chars expected to fight AGAINST each others forces. This is not easy.
Far more common is either "parking" a char or sharing information across a Ventrilo server with kinship members. A parked character is a creep or freep that usually sits in a safe spot and "monitors" the OOC channel, perhaps asking questions but often just silently reviewing the channel for questions such as "where to?" followed by the "We're hitting ..." and the like. They then pass this information on to their friends (your opponents) who then know how to counter your sides moves.
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Spies among us!
I've seen this on a number of servers and purposefully tested it a few times when things seemed... odd on how the freeps were "predicting" where we were going. Here is one such incident.
- TR and LC were under freep control. The raid decided to hit TR. A question on where "the main raid" was going came across the OOC channel so I put out "freeps are at TR so we'll just take back LC real quick..." then reiterated the fact we'd hit TR in raid chat. The freeps at TR moved out towards LC and the rest of the freeps showed up there. We had NO resistance for most of the TR fight. Now why did the freeps move out from TR to LC within a minute of the statement in OOC, especially when TR is by far a more valuable target (rally circle for holding it)?
That wasn't the only such test but it does illustrate that spies do exist so keep an eye on your communications and how well your opponents seem to "know" what you are doing. Sometimes this is chance but chance 3... 4... 5... times in a row? Hmmm....
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Some folks "like" this, feeling it to be an advantage. I could go into "morality" and "propriety" and "gamesmanship" but that rarely has impact on folks so let's stick with the practical side on why this isn't so smart to rely upon.
Such "helpful" individuals have no moral imperative preventing them from reversing the information flow and start feeding THEM the same information on YOUR actions as they were feeding you information, so your "trust" in them is misplaced and may lead your raid into ambushes. Watch for this!
You are better off either telling them to knock it off or flat out boot such people from your raid -- a lot of the decision for this really depends upon the situation. Sometimes such "slips" are by accident (such as someone logged into their kinships/tribes Vent server hearing info) but THINK about it. How easy is it to accidentally mention the fact you sent a team around the back of the enemy forces to nail them? How easy is it for them to mention how you are going to hit LC versus TR because you KNOW your opponents aren't there or vise versa? This can be especially true if "your spy" hears their kinship/tribe members getting angry. They may pull a "Sorry guys, we'll be hitting..." over vent to "pay them back" for 'spying'"... Don't be fooled by their "mood of the moment" providing you with tactical information.
If someone is logged into a kin vent server and mentions such intel, a simple "Either go to that side or get out of that server please. We do not need the risks of your 'accidentally' reversing the info to them and that can't happen if you aren't chatting with them." Again, how you deal with a "friendly spy" is up to you but you should very carefully consider the chances that it may backfire and deal with it accordingly.
The Out of Character channel tends to be used as a stock communications channel. Whereas there *IS* a regional channel, few ever use it versus using the OOC channel.
As the primary communications channel in the moors, this channel tends to fill up with all sorts of requests for joining groups through "region wide" communications about raid activities. It is the "open to everyone" chat channel so it does have its uses when winning and losing.
As mentioned in the previous Spying area, this channel can and will be monitored at times by those who wish to pass information on "to the other side" so you need to try and keep "intelligence" out of this channel. Keeping "intelligence" out of OOC isn't too difficult on most servers (pun intended). Once people understand the risks involved in passing tactical information in the channel, they tend to keep chatter on important target information to a minimum.
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Uses of the channel
- Trolls and Rangers
- When someone is going to roll up a Troll or Ranger, it can be handy to have them say hello in the channel. Some character's names are ... cumbersome to type out accurately so having a name that you can right-click to send a tell to can help.
- Establishing communications with other groups
- This channel is also a good place to establish communications with other raids and groups in the moors. You can announce your raid to the channel and ask other groups and raids to send you a tell to begin working together. This can be especially handy if you have a full raid and other groups are running around the fight. Trying to pass tactical info through the OOC channel isn't smart (see Spying for one reason) and can lead to problems.
- If you are a raid leader -- once you establish contact with the other group(s), you can delegate management of the communications to others. As a Raid Leader, your best bet is to keep the number of tells to and from yourself to a minimum. 1 external contact point is quite manageable. Trying to deal with tells too and from 2 trolls/rangers, a warg/burg pack, a tribe/kinship group and another raid... Well, you're just setting yourself up for overload. "Pass the buck" and have someone else help see that information is sent to and from the various other teams while you focus on keeping your raid going.
- Reestablishing communications
- If, for any reason, another group loses a contact person, or your raid loses a contact person, you may need to reestablish the communications with them. This can be handled easily the same as the previous paragraph outlined.
- Reminder on your raids status
- It is also good to watch the channel as a "reminder". You may get too busy to notice that you have a few openings in your raid, after your raid already hit full capacity. In such cases, seeing "any raids?" in /ooc can remind you to open up the /who window and re-open your raid. Once your raid is full, it automatically closes so you need to re-open the raid periodically or begin the /invite <name_from_hell_1,000,000> sessions. I, personally, HATE having to type out 20 names and getting 20 different tells from folks asking to join when I'm trying to keep communications going with critical "partners" for the fights. This can be more than a minor distraction from your other duties.
This section is quite lengthy and splits into 3 other articles:
- This article covers general information on leading raids in Monster Play situations -- the differences and shared considerations that Raid Leaders, of either side, should look at and consider when leading raids. Such things as using /Raidshout, keeping your raid view open so you can see who's still standing vs who needs to be propped back up (resurrected), delegation of different tasks to your team members so you aren't trying to do everything yourself, posting your raid as "open" so others can join it and many other tasks that a raid leader needs to keep track of.
- This article covers specific considerations on leading raids for the Army of Angmar. It deals with diverse issues such as clustering of certain troops by type (Defilers so they get out of combat faster, wargs for a "warg pack", etc..) versus distributing them across the groups -- benefits and downsides to this, using Warleaders in clusters to "tank" a freep raid, etc...
- This article covers specific considerations on leading raids for The Free Peoples of the Ettenmoors. It covers such issues as covering your healers, tracking and trap use by your Hunters, mobility and flanking maneuvers, focusing groups (burglar packs) and the like.