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Pelagor
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This is my captain philosophy (as of July 2011).

Virtues: Valour, Empathy, Innocence, Loyalty, Fidelity. I am a big fan of melee defense (pocket item, LI relics). When raiding in a high tactical damage environment, I will swap something out (usually Valour or Empathy) and put in Tolerance.

I constantly play around with class traits. For solo, the Moors, or 3 man content, I typically trait 4 red (renewed voice, turn of the tide, battle master and focused strikes or expert attacks) and 3 blue (strength from within, captain's hope, now for wrath). I have enough melee crit relics and equipment to cap my crit rating (20% for 4 red) without using expert attacks, but in the moors creeps have crit defense. Legendaries are IDOME, Oathbreakers Shame, and Shield of the Dunedain. Although I trait the hope banner, against easy solo content I use banner of war for the extra DPS.

For harder 6 man content and raids, I switch to 5 yellow (adherent of elendil, captain of war, defiance, intimidation, and tactical prowess) and 2 blue (now for wrath and captain's hope). If the fellowship needs more power, I drop defiance for captain's victory in yellow, and swap in fear no darkness for captain's hope. Legendaries are the Leader of Men capstone, Oathbreakers Shame, and IDOME.

Strength from within self heals now stack with LOM traited inspire heals. That might make me consider taking strength from within instead of fear no darkness in my power build.

For armor, I have all 6 helegrod pieces for a 6 sec rally cry (and 20% shorter cooldowns on all other defeat response skills. I use 4 of the 6 pieces for that bonus. I've used many other pieces to fill in the other two slots. Right now, my favorite is using the incomparable (gold) leggings from volume 3 and the Mallehedrin gauntlets of Gloaming. Both give a % chance heal on any damage that is great for survivability, especially in the Moors or when soloing bosses.

I use a mix of warrior and caster jewelry to get a balance set of stats, but I have lots of jewelry to swap in and out if I want to focus in a particular area. If I had to prioritize, it would be might/will/vitality equally at # 1, fate, then agility. Use bracelets with ICPR to avoid power issues for long fights.
Skill rotation is slower than other classes but important (although not necessarily to maximize DPS). Usually in groups (which is where captains shine), your goal is to maximize defeat responses.

I typically use battle shout, defensive strike, line myself up for maximum targets for pressing attack (five for me with the legendary), blade of elendil, defensive strike, cutting attack, defensive strike, sure strike, defensive strike. I end this sequence as soon as Battle Shout is again available (which can vary depending on whether you've traited renewed voice, if war cry is up, whether you are using a 1 or 2 handed weapon, or whether you needed to thread heals into the rotation. Again, the idea is to maximize your chances for defeat responses from pressing attack or devastating blow. It also allows you to remove corruptions with improved blade of elendil as fast as possible.

Of course, I use Valiant strike when available, but since I never trait hands of healing anymore, I don't worry about when to use it, since its healing effect is minimal. In groups, I fit in Inspire for the heal over time, but don't spam it! It is a power hog, and it has no initial heal, only 5 healing ticks at 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 seconds. Since cutting attack has a 20 second cooldown, I use it as my cue to use Inspire. I use cutting attack then Inspire. When cutting attack is ready for use again, I'll use Inspire again too if my shield brother needs healing. If he doesn't, I skip Inspire due to the power cost.

In my CStat parses (before sure strike) my biggest contribution to DPS was... autoattacks! Defensive strike was second. Remember, since the combat revamp for Mirkwood, there is no need to pause between skill use to allow auto attacks to fire. Auto attacks will fit themselves in, even if you have your combat animations set not to see them. The autoattacks still occur. So if you have the power, cue up those skills as fast as you can.

You will notice I left off Grave Wound. I have two reasons. Since I often trait 4 deep in leader of men, I leave that skill off my DPS rotation so I don't annoy the tank and pull a mob off him with the forced taunt. That skill also hurts your DPS, in that it halts the cutting attack bleed. Grave Wound is okay if you remember to use it before cutting attack, but why not use Defensive Strike instead? The damage is similar for a lot less power. I only use Grave Wound if I am trying to pull a mob off a squishy, or if I am solo fighting 2+ mobs, where I will tab target over to second mob to use Grave Wound so the cutting attack runs on mob #1.

As a jack of all trades, captains can't focus just on DPS. Watch morale bars, and throw Words of Courage to people that need it. An important combat option is to allow skills to affect your target's target, and to see the vitals of your target's target. That allows you to target the current DPS target, and push Words of Courage heals through that target to the fellowship/raid member on whom it has aggro when you see that person needs healing. You can go in the opposite direction, by targeting the main assist and pushing your combat skills through him, but the main assist is often a hunter or RK, meaning it is nearly impossible to figure out where to stand to put you in melee range. And you usually want to heal the tank, not the main assist.

The fun decision process about a captain is defeat responses. There is no "skill rotation". You evaluate the current situation in a couple seconds, and make a choice of how to affect the battle. You need good battlefield awareness. Top off heals needed? Rally cry. More DPS? War Cry. Break up dangerous inductions or skills? Turn of the Tide traited Routing Cry. More personal DPS or threat? Shadow's Lament.

The same is true with our emergency skills (In Harm's Way, Last Stand, Shield of the Dunedain). Battlefield awareness is the key to using those skills at the right time. And don't automatically use Last Stand just because you used In Harm's Way. Captains have enough morale that the 50% damage you are taking might not be enough to kill you. That allows you to use In Harm's Way every 5 minutes, not 15.

On to legendary items. For weapons, at a minimum, you need a two handed sword or halberd and a buff stick. The two handed should include + pressing attack targets, + telling mark, and - melee skills power cost. I also like - kick CD and To Arms (some people put To Arms on a buff stick, but that is too much swapping for me). The buff stick should include + relentless attack rating, + on guard parry rating, +% motivating speech, and + make haste. I also built a one hander for tanking and the moors (allows blocking with a good light shield), but that is optional.

For emblems, the must haves are rally cry CD, rally cry healing, and vocal skills healing. Muster courage CD is also really nice, and it is a minor legacy to boot. Plus % strength of will healing is essential, but can be on a buff emblem along with + ICPR tactic.

Try to group as much as you can on a captain. It is more enjoyable and good practice for end game.


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re: Observations of S&H Captains

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Great Hammo's beer box, that's a lot of well organized and thought out information and tips! Thanks for the post!


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All that is part of the Hammiki now :-)


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Pelagor
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This is my updated Captain's philosophy as of July 2012.

Virtues: I use Innocence, Tolerance, Zeal, Empathy, and Fidelity. I am a big fan of tactical mitigation (especially for the moors and in raids), and virtues are an excellent source.

I don't vary my class traits as much as I used to. For solo, 3 mans, or the Moors, I typically trait 5 red (renewed voice, expert attacks, turn of the tide, battle master, and blade of elendil) and 2 blue (strength from within, now for wrath). Even with a lot of crit gear, and the crit tactics buff, I have not reached the 30% crit cap (25% plus 5% for 4+ red traits), but the higher the crit, the more defeat responses available. Legendaries are IDOME, Master of War capstone, and Fellowship Brother. For all other content, the only change I make is to remove strength from within for relentless optimism.

If I'm tanking, I go 5 yellow with renewed voice and expert attacks for maximized threat.

For armor, I carry around a ridiculous amount of armor pieces and swap pieces in/out. I have the Perseverance boots, gloves, and leggings for a 6 sec rally cry (and 20% shorter cooldowns on all other defeat response skills). This is the Audacity moors healing set. I use them with the Dagor helm/shoulders/breastplate if I'm willing to be a little squishy, or the non-Audacity moors helm/shoulders/breastplate if I need more survivability. I tote around all 6 draigoch pieces for the 20% revealing mark 5 piece bonus. That is useful in single boss fights with two captains (where the other has 10% telling mark). I also have tanking gloves that dropped from Draigoch.

I use jewelry with might, vitality, icpr, and crit in that priority. but I have lots of jewelry to swap in and out if I want to focus in a particular area, especially for tanking and increasing mitigations. I will vary my might and vitality based on the situation, from 1200 might/1500 vitality for tanking to 2100 might / 700 vitality for maximum healing and DPS.

Captain DPS has improved since a year ago (still lower than most classes, but the gap has shrunk). My skill rotation is still to maximize defeat responses, but the skills and legacies that reduce the cooldowns of battle shout and shadow's lament have significantly changed my skill rotation compared to last year.

I typically use battle shout, sure strike (reducing the battle shout cd), line myself up for maximum targets for pressing attack (four for me with the legendary), shadow's lament, blade of elendil (to reduce the shadow lament cd if I'm wearing 3 pieces of Dagor), pressing attack, sure strike, battle shout, blade of elendil, sure strike, pressing attack, and so on. Since the Master of War capstone causes Shadow's Lament to put me in a battle ready state (if it hits), the idea is to shorten the time between battle shouts and shadow laments in order to fit in as many pressing attacks/devastating blows as possible (for defeat responses). It also does a great job maximizing personal DPS. This sequence can vary (if war cry is up, time needed to trigger defeat responses, Words of Courage or Inspire heals threaded in, etc. Again, the idea is to maximize your chances for defeat responses from pressing attack or devastating blow. It also allows you to remove corruptions with improved blade of elendil as fast as possible. With Perserverance, Dagor, and the emblem, my Shadow's Lament cooldown goes from 45 seconds down to 17 seconds (and could go to 13 seconds if I had more points to spend on my second age emblem).

In groups and most raids, I Blade Brother a DPS member of my fellowship. The Blade Brother Inspire includes both morale and power, and since I trait the capstone and Fellowship Brother, I get the full benefit and everyone else in the fellowship gets 20% of the benefit. If you remember to use Inspire every 15 seconds or so, the amount of power restored is more than everyone would get from a Victory banner. The To Arms bonus (with legacy) and -5% attack speed for everyone is also very powerful. The Shield Brother Inspire only restores morale, and often only the tank needs morale, so I think Shield Brother is weaker overall, even though the Strength of Will benefit with legacy does provide a huge boost to healing on the tank. I only use Song Brother in very power hungry situations, like when the healer is rezzed in combat with just a sliver of power (and no LM is available). I will Song Brother the healer for a minute or two to build up power, then switch back to Blade Brother.

Remember, since the combat revamp for Mirkwood, there is no need to pause between skill use to allow auto attacks to fire. Auto attacks will fit themselves in, even if you have your combat animations set not to see them. The autoattacks still occur. So if you have the power, cue up those skills as fast as you can.

Currently, Battle Shout and Shadow's Lament come around so quickly I don't use Cutting Attack and Grave Wound often. The extra threat from Grave Wound after Cutting Attack should not pull aggro from your tank, and both now stack bleeds, so I use them when I can, such as when Shadow's Lament misses or BPEs, leaving me non-battle ready. I also use Cutting Attack constantly in the Moors due to the slow added during the Rise of Isengard update. It is essential in the Moors; otherwise you will be kited to death by everything. Another quirky skill is Fighting Withdraw. It doesn't say so in the tooltip, but if you use the skill, it will reveal stealthed creatures nearby. Nice for popping out wargs in the Moors, but it has a five minute cooldown.

As a jack of all trades, captains can't focus just on DPS. Watch morale bars, and throw Words of Courage to people that need it. An important combat option is to allow skills to affect your target's target, and to see the vitals of your target's target. That allows you to target the current DPS target, and push Words of Courage heals through that target to the fellowship/raid member on whom it has aggro when you see that person needs healing. You can go in the opposite direction, by targeting the main assist and pushing your combat skills through him, but the main assist is often a hunter or RK, meaning it is nearly impossible to figure out where to stand to put you in melee range. And you usually want to heal the tank, not the main assist.

The fun decision process about a captain is defeat responses. There is no "skill rotation". You evaluate the current situation in a couple seconds, and make a choice of how to affect the battle. You need good battlefield awareness. Top off heals needed? Rally cry. More DPS? War Cry. Break up dangerous inductions or skills? Turn of the Tide traited Routing Cry.

The same is true with our emergency skills (In Harm's Way, Last Stand, Shield of the Dunedain, Time of Need). Battlefield awareness is the key to using those skills at the right time. And don't automatically use Last Stand just because you used In Harm's Way. Captains have enough morale that the 50% damage you are taking might not be enough to kill you. That allows you to use In Harm's Way every 5 minutes, not 15.

On to legendary items. For weapons, at a minimum, you need a two handed sword or halberd and a buff stick. The two handed should include + pressing attack targets, + telling mark, - melee skills power cost and To Arms (all majors unfortunately). I also like - kick CD (a minor). Some people put To Arms on a buff stick, but that is too much swapping for me. The buff stick should include + relentless attack rating, + on guard parry rating, +% motivating speech, and + make haste (if you PVP in the Moors). I also built a one hander for tanking and the moors (allows blocking with a good light shield), but that is optional.

For emblems, the must haves are rally cry CD, rally cry healing, and vocal skills healing, and Shadow's Lament cooldown if you use the Master of War capstone to allow a Shadow's Lament hit to put you in a battle ready state. Muster courage CD is also really nice, and it is a minor legacy to boot. Percent strength of will healing can be on a buff emblem along with + ICPR tactic. If you create the buff emblem, go ahead and throw in time of need cooldown, time of need morale cost, shield of the dunedain cooldown, and Escape from Darkness cooldown. The ability to generate a defeat response on command with Time of Need often and with minimum morale cost is very powerful. In fact, in DPS races, I often use it to get War Cry up before we even enter combat, or if I fail to get a defeat response from my first Pressing Attack.

Try to group as much as you can on a captain. It is more enjoyable and good practice for end game. Well played, a Captain's effect on the fellowship's overall DPS, power management, and survivability is huge.


Last edited by Pelagor on Nov 13th, 2012 7:19 am; edited 2 times in total


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re: Observations of S&H Captains

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Awesome! I'll be referencing this quite a bit as I get this guy leveled
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Thanks for the very helpful information! I'll try to follow this as I am leveling my Captain from 63 to 75 and then into Rohan. Having been away from the game for a number of years I have forgotten a lot about how to successfully solo the Captain, but even at its best I'm always aware that it is better in groups in any case. Must...continue...leveling...
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Sorry for the double post, but I was wondering if there is an answer to this question:

In a typical* S&H raid, what role is a Captain usually asked to play? Tank? Off-tank? Heals? Off-heals? Simply a buff+DPS bot?

*(understanding that there are certain raids with certain circumstances)

Just trying to think on how I should approach certain legacies on LI's, relics, etc., as I level.
Pelagor
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ZelotesCurse wrote:

In a typical* S&H raid, what role is a Captain usually asked to play? Tank? Off-tank? Heals? Off-heals? Simply a buff+DPS bot?

*(understanding that there are certain raids with certain circumstances)

Just trying to think on how I should approach certain legacies on LI's, relics, etc., as I level.


From my perspective, S&H expects captains to fill these roles simultaneously:

1. Power management for their fellowship (mainly via Now for Wrath (never unslot this trait, ever) and the power over time from Inspire, although we have the Focus tactic and a Victory banner for true power hogs).

2. Off heals from Rally Cry, Inspire, and focused heals from Words of Courage as needed (main healer is having trouble keeping up tank, a ToO overheal debuff is on someone, etc.). You may be the main healer of the guardian tanking Draigoch's head. You are also the only person with a reliable heal (Words of Courage) that can be used during the running and jumping phase of the ToO Acid boss.

3. Boost raid wide DPS in certain DPS race situations (always keeping War Cry up, Blade Brothering the best DPS in group (and using a legacy extended To Arms up as long as possible) and using Fellowship Brother to improve everyone else's DPS).

4. Keep up buffs on your fellowship (and the other fellowship if you are the only captain). This includes rebuffing people immediately after in combat rezzes.

5. Using In Harm's Way (Last Stand if necessary), In Time of Need, and the consumable battle ready in emergency situations to prevent raid wipes.

6. Don't use in combat rezzes indiscriminately. Usually the raid leader will make the calls re: who should rezz whom.

7. Coordinate with the other captain regarding use of Revealing and Telling mark. If you are the only captain, use one or the other based on your best judgement of the situation (more heals vs. more DPS).

8. Contribute personal DPS while doing all of the above in a way that puts the least stress on the healers (don't stand in fire, stay behind trolls, etc.).


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I'm pasting in a mounted combat traiting and tactics guide from the forums with a couple edits of my own thrown in. Here goes:

"The first rule of Mounted Captaining is to realize you're not a melee class.

The second rule of Mounted Captaining is to realize YOU'RE NOT A MELEE CLASS!

Captains start with four attack skills. Two are at melee. Two are at range, and the ranged ones do 2x to 3x your melee damage. At 40m or so. Quick note: most enemies either hit really weak, or only have melee attacks. There is NO REASON to try and engage in melee constantly. Sure hit as you pass if they get to close but don't just make melee passes. That's the only way war-band bosses are going to get you.

Third rule, captains ride light horses and have two disciplines, Red Dawn and Riddermark.

Cry Wrath is your nuke on a 16s cooldown. At level 75 with a level 1 steed, it would crit for 8k damage if I had fury built up. It also applies a Dot in Red Dawn stance. That's solid against bosses, but if you're in Riddermark it becomes a 5-target AOE with a 40m diameter. Yes, that means it hits up to 5 enemies that are within a hunter's bowshot of each other. I will ride through enemy camps, agro them all, then circle/nuke them with this before going into the camp for the clickies. It is insanely useful.

Cry Havoc is your utility attack. It has a base 10s cooldown and on a crit (which you're a captain and you should have a lot of) restores ~200 morale and power to both you and your horse in Red Dawn, 250 or so in Riddermark.

Rally the Riders is a melee shout but worth mentioning because it's basically rallying cry without the defeat response requirement. It only effects mounts though, but that's all that's needed in warband combat. We all know how good Rallying Cry is so that's all that needs to be said here.

The Light steed is the steed of choice for both healing and DPS IMO. Here's the path I chose to unlock my abilities:

First off, I've seen a lot of people recommend upping agility and yellow traits first to help with maneuverability. I think this is a bad idea. There's plenty of space, and you really don't care if you accidentally agro additional mobs. You're far better served leveling traits that are actually useful for combat first, then working on maneuverability to that end I suggest:

* Leveling strait up the middle of the Blue line until you get Quickness, and maxing it. This knocks 6s off the cooldown of your ranged Cries, and Rally the Riders. This means that your big nuke is now a 10s cooldown instead of 16. It means your utility attack is a 4s cooldown instead of 10. This is an insane boost to DPS. Getting here granted you some mitigations and in/out healing through other virtues, which is a nice bonus but not the reason you're here. After this, time to change over and...

* Level strait up the middle of the Red line until you get Wrath. This adds 25% crit chance to Cry Havoc, Cry Wrath, and Rally the Riders (crit heals!). (Pelagor Edit) Light Bridles have a legacy for +10% more to your critical chance for these skills in Red Dawn.

*(Pelagor Edit) Level straight down the yellow line to get the 50% dismount effect while in Riddermark stance.

* Fill in red traits by finishing off Forceful Blows (for 1200 more crit rating) and grabbing 3 in Combat Advantage (1500 physical mastery which you care nothing about and 2100 tactical mastery!).

Currently this combination nets me 45% ((Pelagor Edit) 55% with the legacy, 65% with the bridle relic!) crit chance if I'm in Red Dawn. That crit chance means not only am I doing more damage, I'm constantly healing with Cry Havoc just as a bonus.

You could pick up the morale heal in the blue line if you want it as an emergency button. Eventually I did go into yellow for maneuverability and I did see the difference in how the mount handled but I definitely wouldn't have done that as my first advances.

Combat is simple -- if you're fighting one target or a boss or just need to kill it quickly, go in Red Dawn for the crit bonus. If there's a mob of creatures, use Riddermark. Stay at full speed, just circle them at a wide distance. Your attacks have a 40m range do you're fine - this is one of the big reasons you don't need yellow traits early at all. Use Havoc and Wrath as soon as they're off cooldown. If your AOE Wrath picks up additional enemies, shrug and enjoy the bonus XP. Repeat until mobs are dead. (Pelagor Edit): The AOE wrath will eventually dismount everyone, making you untouchable as you circle strafe. Switch back to Red Dawn once the adds are dead to focus on the boss.

(Pelagor Edit) Even when tanking Bugud and all his adds, my health and power and my mount's health and power stay at full for virtually the whole fight.


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