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Manipulation

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Glossary

"Your pet is on the wrong attacker, mage!"  Xornn frowned at the slip by the magician; if the creature had attacked the caster then the old enchanter wouldn't have scolded him, but this was just poor observation that had him siccing his elemental on the wrong target.  Xornn released a burst of scintilating color into the froglok as the earthen servant backed away from the fight, and a spell of mesmerization was placed back over the undead amphibian.  "Hurry up and get that thing on the right mob so the monk stops taking damage!" scolded the high elf, and the mage quickly did so, but Xornn noticed Immuiend, wizard and Xornn's long-time friend, was sitting down from rooting the only unhypnotized frogman in the chamber.  It was now attacking the paladin out of requirement rather than choice, and the monk was meleeing without receiving damaging impacts which the paladin's plate mail repelled much better.

"You know a great deal about our groups' abilities, Xornn," informed the magician.

"Yes," answered the enchanter flatly.

"The better to manipulate us with, dear magician," added Immuien.


When I use the word Groups, I'm referring to anything with more than two people, though honestly I'm speaking of the six-person, full-sized, dungeon crawling group.  This is the enchanter's natural habitat, with five readily available targets of manipulation.    Before getting too far into your role in the group, the composition of the group needs some discussion.  The primary elements of a group are crowd control, tanking, healing, and nuking.  Most of these tasks will fall under a certain class's responsibility, and any full group (especially in a dungeon) typically contains 2 tanks, 1 crowd control, 1 primary healer, 1 secondary healer/nuker, and 1 nuker.  Any ideas you may have adapted about the "perfect" group, drop them now.  This is about the most accepted group, and it's well suited to just about anything.    The above mentioned combination could easily turn out to be a warrior, rogue, enchanter, cleric, shaman, and wizard.  Or maybe shadow knight, monk, bard, shaman, druid, necromancer (more likely outdoors).  There's two constants in most groups at higher levels.  They all want a cleric, and they all want an enchanter.

In your early life as an enchanter, it will be very diffficult to get teams working together, as your groupmates have spent level 1 to as much as 20 just soloing or hitting everything they see.  Tactics with crowd control hasn't been necessary yet (though it would have worked better).  As they progress closer to 30 however, they find that non-crowd control fights are costly, dangerous, and nearing impossible.  The way to survive these times when your potential isn't recognized is to be patient.  Teach regular group members how to work with crowd control.  Nag the party to choose a lead tank and /assist them at all times.  Show them how much easier and faster the kills are with just one or two well-placed mezzes.  If necessary, gripe at them--you can't be afraid to take charge, because one of these days, there's going to be a horde of mobs mezzed around you, waiting to squish you like a grape, when the lead tank paladin will turn to you and say, "What do we do?"  That time is the wrong time to hesitate, so get it out of your system while you're still young.

When fighting in a group, you have one golden rule, above all other rules, regardless of what anyone claims, so important of a rule it doesn't even get numbered:

Know the limits of your group.

You're going to hear amazing stories of 15-pulls and uber charms and miraculous saves.    What doesn't take place often is tales of horrid deaths and nightmare corpse retrievals.  Learn quickly what pulls are too much and what mobs you can't take down unless you're above a certain strength.  If studying these pages tells you that a 4-pull should be manageable with only 20% mana, but you need 30% everytime there's a 4-pull, then don't cross your fingers and hope, tell the group you need help or they need to get out.  I guarantee you, explaining that "Xornn said I should have the mana left" will do little to appease those staring at shrunken experience bars and wondering how to get to their body.  What I'm saying to you is, Think for yourself.  If you don't agree with a tactic I suggest, toy with it.  See if there's something you like better.  In many cases, I'll bet you find that's about the best way to do it, because I spent eons trying different ways.  But I choose my tactics based on the most reliability, not necessarily the best potential.  I'm here to teach you how to enchant with confidence and courage, not how to hot dog and amaze your friends.  Some of that will happen anyway, but it will be after you've mastered the basic building blocks of the enchanter's arsenal.  As I recently heard Ben Afleck in Bounce, "You can't be brave if you aren't scared."

Beyond the golden rule, you have three duties when grouped:

  1. Crowd Control
  2. Buffing
  3. Debuffing

All three sections are covered separately, but this is the order that it usually takes priority.  Before worrying about anything, every loose mob should be mezzed, rooted, or charmed.  These are the weapons of crowd control (AoE stuns are the hilts of those weapons I guess).  After crowds are taken care of, mana regen and haste should be on anyone that can use it.  Other buffs have their novelties, but the most important is regening mana and faster swinging.  Both are massive contributions to the group.  When the buffing is taken care of, then you debuff, mana permitting.    My selections on debuffing are limited to slowing attack speed or stunlocking, as they are the well-spent mana, while our other debuff lines are lacking to say the least.

You follow these three rules (under the umbrella of the golden rule) and you will shine as an enchanter.  You'll find that grouping is really just a huge juggling contest of aggro, mana management, rushing heartbeats and mezzed mobs.  You're going to drop the balls in flight, a lot--just keep trying and you'll stop dropping them so much in time.

What I still want to address is the other classes and how you should be expecting to manipulate them.  Some classes, like the ever-steady warrior, are quite simple.    You drop haste onto them and let them kill.  Or the cleric, who just needs your mana regen and a chance to get some healing done.  But there are finer points than this, specific to each class, not just as to what buffs they need, but what to expect of them, and demand if they don't provide it.  For example, a Paladin excels at aiding in crowd control, as a tank that can cast Root.  Many paladins however don't use this ability often, as no one has expected them to--be the first.

There are three main class "sections":  Tanks, Healers, and Casters.    The tanks are the Warrior (obviously), Paladin, Shadowknight, Monk, Ranger, Rogue, and Bard.  Among the tanks, haste is the most pivotal buff you can cast on them, as it is focussed 100% on what they do--hit mobs for damage.  Beyond that, you must consider what to expect of them, if you have caster hybrids, give them mana regen--they need it too, and while they may have less need to cast, they also have very little time to meditate--because they're fighting so you can meditate.  Your lead tank, who everyone /assists, should be a Warrior, Shadow Knight, or Paladin whenever possible.   All three of these classes have very high defensive abilities, and can "tank" mobs the longest.  The Monk, Ranger, and Rogue have high offensive abilities at the cost of some defensive powers--they are often referred to as "paper tanks".  They look pretty schnazzy till the pounding starts, then your healers start complaining about keeping them alive.  The bard is a bit of an odd-ball, able to fill in as a tank, but excelling at augmenting the entire group with mana regen, haste (both stacking with ours), slow healing, attack slows, snares, pretty much a horde of abilities they have.  It still doesn't hurt to haste them, as many will still be getting some tanking done while playing their cute little songs.  (I love to tease bards--honestly they really make a group strong.)  Being more specific among the tanks:

Warrior
Expect to see this class at the forefront of every battle, the one going berzerk all the time before the cleric starts healing, and doing most of the gruntwork.  Their job isn't just looking at the mob and pressing attack though.  You'll find they are often more aware of the battlefield than even you.   These heavy tanks should be calling out any adds they see, and be used to turning off attack, targetting a stray mob and pressing Taunt to pick up the aggro.  A good warrior manages to keep everything pissed at him, as he can survive the longest while you do your job.

Paladin
Retain the defensive power of the Warrior, but now give them a multitude of defensive spells at the cost of their offensive abilities.  They don't fall that far behind really, and taking damage is the priority, anyway.   They have some appreciable healing ability, especially when healing a caster, and that blessed Lay on Hands, which will likely be used on either the cleric or enchanter when the time comes.  Root and a non-damage stun allow the Paladin to even assist you with difficult mezzing.  Also remind a paladin puller of his Lull line.  While it's extremely aggro-inducing and highly resisted, when you're facing a 3-pull anyway, what have you got to lose?

Shadow Knight
Excellent tank, still defensively on par with a warrior, and toting around the spells of a necromancer as well.  Lifetaps, darkness snaring, AC debuffs, this class has a lot of aggroing abilities, especially nice for breaking mez.  They can even set up their own fear kite in a pinch, and the ability to feign death can stop a bad pull in its tracks, or even just make corpse retrieval less painful.

Monk
Paper tank, withers in combat compared to the plate mail toting cousins above.   Shells out very appreciable damage, has many stunning abilities, and fights nearly as well naked as equipped, making them very nice when you need to fight back down to your bodies.  The ability to feign death is home to the monk, and you may often find groups with a good monk puller very boring as they single pull one mob after another.   I'm not one to mind this, but others don't like the monotony.  Most good monks will bring you however many mobs you want in.

Ranger
Another paper tank, with some alarming damage output.   The problem is these aren't a good combo.  They shell out fast, hard damage, then draw aggro and get dead or drain the healers out of mana quickly.  Snares, DOTs, some nukes, SoW, a nice realm of offensive and defensive magic, well rounded out hybrid, with the ability to dual wield, unlike the shadow knight or paladin.  Like all paper tanks, you're going to want another tank in the group most of the time, though don't think of the ranger as going down in 3 seconds after the pull arrives.  They just take a lot of damage, which can be easily fixed with some well placed rooting for aggro management.

Rogue
Damage.  Lots of it.  Fast.  The rogue has some amazing weapons, hits hard and fast, and once they get in behind the mob, the backstabbing starts.  Rogues can shell out more damage per minute than a wizard that is running their mana well, and don't need mana to do so.  Rogues are able to lower their aggro after a backstab to keep the mob looking away from them, so they have enough defensive ability to stay in for the time they need.  As far as groups go, it's hard to go wrong with a rogue secondary tank, or to drop them into the "nuker" slot (since they shell out so much damage with backstabbing).

Bard
And the "pseudo-tank", dubbed because the higher a bard gets, it usually equates to the less tanking they do, as they begin "twisting" songs together (stacking up songs by switching instruments and playing a new song every 6 seconds, a lot of clicking usually).  Still, the bard wears heavy armor, and has access to good weapons.  In a pinch they can tank very well, but don't plan on their songs lasting real well while getting hit.  The bard is capable of doing pretty much anything the group needs done, and about the only common substitute for an enchanterless group.

Next is the healers... comprised of the Cleric, Druid, and Shaman.  As the healers progress they develop into that one role completely (especially the Cleric)--buffing and healing.

Cleric
The cleric is the strongest healer available to a group, and this is the role they are assigned to with that reason.  Able to wear plate armor, they are afforded a good deal of protection for a non-tank, but truly excel as their healing capacities blast ahead of the other healing classes.  As they advance into the greater ranks they pick up the amazing Complete Heal (excellent for healing high hit point tanks), Celestial Heals (heal over time) that chuck life onto a target for several tics, excellent for healing when a group member isn't taking damage extremely fast, and fast casting heals for when you're getting smacked around and need health to stay alive.  Clerics also carry a root line, and stun lines (though many of them do damage) and can assist with crowd control, but honestly they are usually too busy with healing, and trust me they are best left to this task.  Beyond healing powers they possess many strong AC and HP buffs, and should always keep a symbol on the main tank and you, the enchanter.  Some complain of the cost (cheap ones) of the reagents, so just carry a stack of the reagent they need to shut them up.  In most cases, you will not need a symbol to do your duties--but the big trains are stopped by the enchanter that had the forethought to get as many HP as possible through buffing.  While the other healers can get the job done in most cases, the last, final appeal that makes a cleric almost mandatory in groups is the ability to ressurect people, and restore experience lost from death.  As you advance in levels, lost experience becomes more and more of a penalty, as leveling becomes so much slower.

Shaman
The shaman is a strong healer, but not on par with the cleric.  They carry a multitude of spell lines, the only class to rival the enchanter, and many of our powers parallel those of the shaman.  They get a great range of buffs, including an inferior haste at corresponding levels, but as we bear inferior slows there is the balance lain.   The shaman picks up many powerful DOTs, decent nukes, excellent resistance debuffs (though the spell can be resisted, unlike the Tash line, plus they gain the ever valuable Root to aid in crowd control.  Plus, the shaman is much tougher in a melee than the enchanter--so Rooting and Slowing during a crowd control can buy you a lot of breathing room, since the shaman can tank for much longer than your robed frame.  Lastly, the shaman is one of two classes to receive Spirit of Wolf, a movement buff.

Druid
Heals on par with the shaman, great nukes, nice DOTs, damage shields, teleports and evacuation spells, snares, damage-roots, non-aggro aggro reduction... all of these are part of the druid arsenal.  Many of these spells don't function correctly (or at all) indoors though.  For the outdoor group, it's hard to beat a good druid, who can tank longer than an enchanter, snare mobs, knock the life out of a mob quickly, or heal with proficiency.  Of course the druid can SoW as well, and is one of the few classes adept at damage shielding.

The tanks and healers aside, this leaves the casters, intelligence based mana-users...

Wizard
Wizards are the culmination of damage from mana.  Their spells are almost entirely nukes, in some form or another, in fire, ice, and magic based strikes.  They gain a reduction to resist rates, have a good selection at all levels, plus have the ability to snare, stun and root (excellent crowd control aids).  They posses direct nukes, AoE nukes in several forms, AoE rains (like an AoE Nuke DOT centered on an area), plus PB Nukes in a radius.  Add to that the ability to Teleport/Evac, and you've got a very strong class--that is the most underrated class in the game.  Wizards are not about massive damage output over the long game.  They are about burning a mob to the ground (or freezing or blasting) in record time.  Their nukes cast faster, are more efficient, and resist less--but because most tanks can outdamage them in the long run, they get sold short.  If you see a wizard seeking a group, grab them, and find out why they are so good at rooting--because they've lived and died by the spell since creation.  While that tank over there may outdamage your wizard per fight, when the group is looking haggard, the healers are running out of mana, and you're finding it difficult to hold this last mob still, it's the wizard that stands up and obliterates the creature.  Then let them med through the next fight, they earned it.

Magician
Most magicians turn out to be solo-fiends as they grow, which is understandable since they have such a strong pet, great nukes (almost as good as a wizard), and massive damage output.  They never need anything as they can just summon what they require, and on top of that have the ability to kick out some impressive damage shields.  When they finally start grouping at high level, many are atrocious pet handlers, and this causes much resentment with pets (with necromancers too).  With a brief bit of study, a magician can become an expert at pet control.  Firstly all pets should be on Guard at all times to prevent wandering.  If there's an add to the fight, they should Back Off the pet and make sure the mob gets under control.  If you get into a situation of the pet on the wrong mob, you have a responsibility to help out with PB Stuns while the mage gets the pet /assisted onto the correct mob again, then you can resume your crowd control.  Or sometimes, just let the pet fight the mob, and make that the next target to go after.  Learning to use a magician can lead to some amazing fighting power, especially with a tank that you aren't terribly concerned with losing.  Be wary though, a mage with no pet is crippled in ability, as they have very few ways to deal with a mob on them.

Necromancer
The same rules for pets that apply to magicians apply to necromancers.   Beyond that, the necromancer is one of the least competent grouping classes, because they have little practice.  Necromancers can fear kite from level 4 to level 60 without aid.  However in the group they are the masters of trading.  Trading life for mana, mana to another, life to another, lifetapping mobs for hit points, even acting as crowd control occasionally with a crippled form of mezzing they possess.   All in all the necromancer can be an extremely powerful group member, once they learn how to group.

Enchanter
I think you understand what an enchanter can do.  All I remind you of is that most of our abilities don't stack, and that's why enchanters tend to not play nice together.  If you wish to run two enchanters in a group (or in a raid situation must work with others), each of you take on an aspect of crowd control, buffing, or debuffing, and only do your share unless the other needs backup.  The higher level will always handle crowd control, and haste if theirs is superior.  The lower enchanter is usually relegated to mana regen and attack slows, plus roots and stuns to aid in crowd control.  Many times, a second enchanter is most useful when they hold a charmed pet with them, as they have little else to focus on for group responsibilities.  Two enchanters in a group is possible and feasible, and in some specialized groups even suggested (stun-locking teams), but usually the group is better served by another class--as enchanters tend to clash when in the same group.

 

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