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The Tactics Board

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1 The Tactics Board on Mon May 30, 2011 5:35 pm

Hi,

We're a pretty unusual party in terms of our make-up and size, so I thought we should share some ideas about how to fight together.

Firstly, let's appraise what we can do, so we can get a better idea of we have to work with. We have lotsa strikers, some of whom get tangled up in melee quite a bit. We don't have quite so much in the way of defense or heals, so combat can get a bit more dangerous for us.

Here's a breakdown for our party members' capabilities in combat:

Artillery: Jo, Anand, Mark, Lui, Shao
Control/ Debuffs: Jo, Mark, Lui, Chien
Skirmishers: Zak, Mark, Lui, Jansen, Shao
Melee: Zak, Jansen, Ed
Defense: Ed
Heals/ buffs: Chien, Ed, Jansen

More to come soon... Cheers!



Last edited by shao on Mon May 30, 2011 5:52 pm; edited 7 times in total

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2 Battlefield Report on Mon May 30, 2011 5:41 pm

In the last 2 battles, it went quite well when Ed (together with Mark and myself, pretty much) were tanking. We split the battlefield into two sections, and most of the less mobile strikers stayed hidden/ out of range until they could get a good opportunity to advance and whack the giants.

What can we take away from this? This may be especially relevant for the next couple of months. We'll have no defender without Ed, our firepower will drop without Anand, and Jansen won't be providing Zaki with a flanking partner. We'll have to learn how to coordinate better.

Our line-up for the next month will be like this:

Artillery: Jo, Mark, Lui, Shao
Control/ Debuffs: Jo, Mark, Lui, Chien
Mobile Skirmishers: Zak, Mark, Lui, Shao
Melee: Zak
Heals/ buffs: Chien

As you can see, in this new line-up, our defense disappeared entirely, Zak is now all alone in the melee line, and our heals/ buff support column also took a hit. In light of this, I offer 4 suggestions to consider:

1, Teleporters (Mark, myself) can do defender duty for a couple of rounds. It's not really what we're good at, and we won't last very long at this job. However, since we are ranged-ok sub-controllers, we can draw attention to ourselves with our ranged attacks; we also have a few defensive tricks, and most importantly, we can teleport out of danger zones. Hopefully, this lets us kite the monsters and draw a bit of attention while the melee strikers can try to move in to do the thing they do. Melee monsters come in close, we blunt their offensive with our defense/ mobility, and buy/ set up our buddies a couple of rounds to whack.

2, Zaki won't have any melee partners to flank with, so his DPR may suffer. I can go in and skirmish together with him, but it's kind of dangerous for long periods of time. The bear spirit may prove useful in this regard.

3, We all took a lot less damage when we began combat hidden, behind cover, or far away. Let's try to get into these conditions more often so we can reduce the damage we take.

4, We need to stay within 10 squares or so of Chien and his bear to get healed/ buffed effectively, so we'll have to keep that in mind.

Whaddya think? Any other suggestions?



Last edited by shao on Mon May 30, 2011 5:51 pm; edited 2 times in total

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3 June/ July considerations on Mon May 30, 2011 5:49 pm


For the June/ July period, I foresee situations where the 4 mobile guys will be moving a lot, and the leader (Chien) and controller (Jo) will be a bit behind the line. Also, as both Chien and Jo are slower (dwarf and gnome), the strikers don't want to get separated too far that they get isolated without support, and we also don't want to leave Chien and Jo open to enemy ambushes/ flanking maneuvers.

It's going to become a bit like modern warfare lol. We have to work in a squad-based system, keep our heads down, and provide each other with covering fire. Personally speaking, I'm thinking it may be better to get a few defensive abilities for the strikers, in order to shore up our front-line holes.

That may involve us having to make a trade-off; we'll incur an opportunity cost of having less efficiency - our DPR drops, and every round that we're doing less damage is also one more round the fight lasts, which means one more round where we stand the chance of dying...

Yet, on the flip-side, every round where we aren't dead is also one more round where we can do more damage :-P

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To sum up, I feel we did quite well for the 5 fights we had while trying to rescue Mikaela. (Pity how that turned out, but I guess crapsack worlds... are crapsack worlds.... in the crapsack universe of Warhammer.)

So, here's some observations and reflections on what we sorta did right (and did wrong), for us to take away and use.

1) We crit a lot. Try to keep that going ok, guys? That leads us to...

2) ... TRUST IN THE BOX. OH MIGHTY BOX, DELIVER US FROM OUR FOES. Who built the box last week? Was it Chien or Mark? We should have a dedicated box-builder of the mighty box.

3) We teamed quite well. There's tons of action economy in the party. For example, Zak made great use of Chien's +3 speed buff to tumble behind the enemy line, where he dropped the basilisk with 2 at-will crits, one right after another. Mark's awesome teleport-switch-and-kite saved my life at the lamia battle, allowing me at least one more round to Starfall the boss.

4) As a Striker-heavy party, we are pretty mobile and aggressively oriented; this means it is advantageous for us to push the offensive. As a team, we supported each other's attacks quite well; there was a lot of softening up and finishing off of priority targets. In general, shorter fights are better fights, not just because we are squishy, but also because the DM can then have more encounters within a single session of play. Let's continue playing to our strengths, and keep up the momentum of our attacks.

5) The absence of our single leader in the lamia fight was very painful; it was not so much the lack of heals that mattered, but rather our lag in action economy, and subsequently our inability to get our offense tricks going. Without any way for us to get out-of-turn saving throws, the stuns/ petrifications/ immobs that were being tossed out suddenly became very deadly, and there was a real possibility of a TPK.

6) I like the fact that we managed to conserve and deploy our resources quite well; the party's ability to save and marshal our action points and daily powers was quite efficient and impressive, and made for a good workday. (Jansen didn't get to do his Tom Yum Goong "1 rage 6 floors" scene, but there are always more opportunities haha!)

7) It's important to stay focused and pay attention to the events in the fictional game-world, especially when it's your turn coming up soon. A lack of focus usually brings about an increase in lag, that then causes an attendant increase in frustration for the DM, as well as a decrease in teamwork.

8, Finally, I find it is generally better to ask questions about what is happening within the boundaries of the game-world so you can get a clearer picture of the playing field, instead of asking questions about the wisdom behind the decisions of your fellow players and DM.

It's an important distinction; in the former case, you are trying to make a decision so you ask a question to gain information to guide your decision-making process, while in the latter case, you are asking a question to provide someone else who is trying to make a decision with information that he or she may not need or want at that moment.

Perhaps players - just like other human beings - generally don't like to be second-guessed about their decisions (even - especially! - if they are wrong); so let's just roll with it and see how things work out. (I don't mean that, if you happen to be right, you should shut up and spend the rest of the combat stewing in one corner feeling frustrated and afraid to speak. There's just a time and place for such things to be said and done.)

Gaming is a relatively democratic phenomenon; we each have our individual turns and decisions in one combat round. Even if one person drops, and that causes everyone else to wipe in a fight, it's really okay; it's just a game, so we can learn at our own pace. Since we'll be spending lots of time with each other, let's try to prevent situations where we decrease our teamwork, interrupt the flow of the game, and squabble unnecessarily with each other.

Cheers!

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5 Re: The Tactics Board on Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:57 pm

anand

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8, Finally, I find it is generally better to ask questions about what is happening within the boundaries of the game-world so you can get a clearer picture of the playing field, instead of asking questions about the wisdom behind the decisions of your fellow players and DM.

It's an important distinction; in the former case, you are trying to make a decision so you ask a question to gain information to guide your decision-making process, while in the latter case, you are asking a question to provide someone else who is trying to make a decision with information that he or she may not need or want at that moment.

Perhaps players - just like other human beings - generally don't like to be second-guessed about their decisions (even - especially! - if they are wrong); so let's just roll with it and see how things work out. (I don't mean that, if you happen to be right, you should shut up and spend the rest of the combat stewing in one corner feeling frustrated and afraid to speak. There's just a time and place for such things to be said and done.)

Man, so so true. Anyway, I will be there for the next 3 weekends before I take a break in KL (Most probably)

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6 Re: The Tactics Board on Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:22 pm

Come back soon, some artillery backup would be appreciated. We're down one brute (Jansen the Kansen), and we have 2 skirmishers left (Mark, myself) and 1 lurker (Zak) in the Strikers' Corner. Lui's attendance is sporadic at best, so we can't count on his RT support.

*chant* DPR! DPR! DPR! DPR! DPR!



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7 Re: The Tactics Board on Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:51 pm

Analysis of Party Strengths/ Weaknesses vis-à-vis Monsters Roles

1) Brutes: We fare pretty ok against these heavy hitters, because it's a straightforward damage race to see who gets each other beaten down first. Also, Mark and Chien used their great debuffing/ mobility powers to lock down and soften the brutes to awesome effect. Still, it's a bit of a risk, because if we don't win the damage race, we may not be able to absorb their hits. We were lucky with our crits the last time, but we may not be so lucky again in the future. These guys are good candidates for you to use daze effects on, because you don't want them to make OAs/ Immediate actions on you.

2) Soldiers: I'm feeling a bit ambivalent about how we fare against these guys. They have good HP and defenses usually, and they slow down our offensive. I suspect we need to use our repositioning-type powers to divide the board and buy us a couple of rounds to focus fire on the more dangerous targets that are easier to take down. Again, they're good to daze, so that we can try to prevent them from OAing/ enforcing their punishment mechanic from their marks.

3) Controllers: These guys are painful to fight, especially elites with their increased HP. This is where our party's weak point shows; our leader becomes super important for granting saving throws to give us second chances. We will get hit and debuffed like crazy, we will be knocked up and locked down; we just gotta accept that. We need to be able to bounce back from that. If these guys appear, they are priority targets for focus fire. Stun them, if you can.

4) Artillery: These guys are also annoying. They are long-ranged, highly accurate, and usually very damaging. We need to be able to mess up their targeting systems (cover, concealment, inflict conditions like blind etc). Slow is not so good at range because they won't be moving away yet; save your slow/ immob for the closing-in phase.

5) Skirmishers: If you have any anti-shift/ immob powers, use it on these guys to set up the offensive against them. Slow is of minimal use, because these guys usually have a lot of "shift x steps" powers, which is unpenalized by slow. These are some of the funky out-of-turn powers that allow them to hit and get out of range. That's their main damage-dealing mechanic - usually they do more damage when they can move; and also their main defense mechanic - so don't count on your hits being able to do damage so easily. Better targeting systems (high Perception, ranged attacks, bursts/ blasts) work wonderfully against them.

6) Lurkers: Same thing as skirmishers, except these guys tend to disappear from the map entirely (hide, become insubstantial, become statues etc), and when they come back, they deliver very painful attacks to lots of people at the same time. Usually incites the response from PCs to nuke them like crazy, except they also tend to have funky defenses that make them hard targets to acquire. Again, controllers and defenders should try to lock them down with immobs/ anti-shift powers before everybody else focus-fires, otherwise we attack them, they defend, and we spend offensive resources that are wasted and lose the momentum. Opportunity cost, basically.

So, yeah, just sharing some of my thoughts. It's not all just dui dui dui! I hope this post also helps players to consider what powers to take, when they consider the array of buffs/ debuffs available to them. Sometimes a power choice may seem very weak, but they allow you to do something you normally cannot do at all (without multiclassing or whatever) - and it suits the needs of the party very well. In that case, a normally "low-tier" choice may actually become a "high-tier" pick.

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8 Re: The Tactics Board on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:03 pm

Also, one last thing: choose and tailor your attacks appropriately. It's good to save your powers, but it's also not good to be so stingy you lose the opportunity to cut loose when the tide of battle is in your favor and you're in a perfect position to take that shot.

If you are planning to use your Encounter or Daily power, compare its effects briefly to what you can accomplish with using your At-Wills instead. Is the difference in effects substantial enough to warrant using it?

For controllers/ defenders - the question is, should you save your power for a better opportunity/ more effective moment to inflict the effects on the enemies? Let's say you use a ranged high-damage encounter power that slows on an artillery monster - yet there's nobody to chase and run it down, so the slow is less meaningful. At a later round, when the slow is really needed to kill the mob, and you don't have it cos you used it earlier for a bit more damage, then it'll be quite bad.

For strikers, this is not as important because every hit counts; every little bit of damage helps to bring the monster down. However, bits of damage are meaningless unless they contribute to downing it, so strikers should try to clean up for each other. Also, remember some monsters (especially brutes; in lore and fluff, giants and dragons also become quite powerful when bloodied) become more powerful once they are bloodied. So, save your big damage guns for killing them quickly once they turn bloodied, and don't do them the favor of bringing them to bloodied in the first round and then they get an early spike in power, which they will use to screw us up over the rest of the (very long) fight.

Remember, it's about teamwork... and the tempo of battle!

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9 Re: The Tactics Board on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:18 pm


A general guide to powers:

At-wills should help you to influence the battle for the duration of your current turn.

Encounters should help you to influence the battle for the duration of a couple of rounds.

Dailies should help you to influence the battle for the rest of the encounter.

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10 Re: The Tactics Board on Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:42 pm

anand

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shao wrote:
A general guide to powers:

At-wills should help you to influence the battle for the duration of your current turn.

Encounters should help you to influence the battle for the duration of a couple of rounds.

Dailies should help you to influence the battle for the rest of the encounter.

For rangers read:

At-wills help you deal damage

Encounters help you deal more damage

Dailies help you deal the most damage

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11 Re: The Tactics Board on Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:38 pm

anand wrote:

For rangers read:

At-wills help you deal damage

Encounters help you deal more damage

Dailies help you deal the most damage

Ah, what about utilities? :-P

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