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  1. #1
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    Default Tips on keeping a Caster alive:

    Playing a Caster can be a fun though rather challenging experience. Oftentimes, a caster is essential for completing a tough quest as there are a decent amount of monsters who can only be affected properly through magic. Besides, there are plenty of specific terrain features in some quests where a good caster can drop a Firewall, Wall of Fog or Cloudkill to decimate a group of enemies while everyone watches. The single greatest enemy a Caster faces is damage itself; they usually have a poor armor class, poor attack rating and low hit points. In fact, a single well placed critical can even take down a higher level caster as well.
    This is where a good playing strategy is essential on keeping him alive during those tough fights. I have taken some time reflecting on how I play Casters and seen other people play them and assembled a few tips on keeping your Caster alive in a dungeon.

    1. Always keep a tower shield on your hotbar. Despite how silly this might initially seem considering the tower shield's high arcane spell failure chance and attack roll penalties, it is one of the most effective defense measures for a caster. The idea here is to get your hands on a magic tower shield. Give it a spot on your hotbar and make sure you have a staff or missle weapon spot as well so you can switch between the two as needed. Simple plan is that when you MM or else blast a bad guy, it instantly aggros on you so that's the time to go into tower shield and blocking mode. You would get a shield AC bonus of anywhere from +4 to +9 and then an additional +2 AC from blocking as well as decent damage reduction. While the bad guy beats on your tower shield as you are blocking, the tanks come in and pound the bad guy. Click on your staff or missle weapon and cast another spell and then quickly tower shield and block again.

    2. Tank wall in a doorway. Simple enough. The tanks either body block, shield block or else occupy a doorway so the mobs do not slip through and kill you. From behind this "wall", you can blast away. Good tactic here is a Firewall, Fog or Cloudkill just in front of the "wall". The mobs will instantly come to the fighters anyway and when they hold the line there, the fights will be quicker and smoother with less healing duty for the cleric.

    3. Tumble, tumble away! Yes, it does make sense to put some points into Tumble for those times when a tough monster aggros you and you need to make a quick getaway while the tanks come in to save your butt. And tumbling towards and behind the tanks is always a good idea!

    4. Keep immune items handy! When in some of the tougher dungeons, you can run into near instant hazards that must be avoided! A good example of this would be those dreaded Arcane Skeletons randomly tossing Cloudkill all over the place. If you know that the dungeon has enemy casters tossing Cloudkill around, it makes sense to keep a poison immune item equipped so you do not go BLAH! DEAD! when you run through a cloud! Same idea goes with places known for mummies and other nasties like spiders et al. Casters generally have terrible Fortitude saves so it makes sense to do a little preventative maintenance to avoid tragedies.

    5. Try not to directly aggro undead spirits such as wraiths and spectres. Since undead spirits tend to fade in and out, it's usually a good idea to leave them to the tanks and clerics in your group. I have seen too many situations where a Caster shoots a magic missle or other blast attack at one, gets the aggro and winds up quickly dead from a succession of damage, drained levels and Constitution drain.

    6. Know your monster! I know this is a generalization of sorts but the basic premise here is to have a strategy in place for dealing with different types of monsters.
    Some Examples:
    MINOTAURS- Be careful when randomly blasting these guys! Your blast will instantly draw their aggro and you will quickly find yourself on the receiving end of their next charge attack! This is where the tower shield and block idea comes in handy!
    GIANTS- They are BIG! REALLY BIG! And "BIG!" usually comes with "Lots or Ouch!" for those with poor AC's and low hit points who are foolish enough to wander within range of their weapons or foot stomp attack. And a Caster knocked to the ground is a welcome target indeed!
    KOBOLDS- Yeah, I know you can easily whack one or two with your staff or flame a few of them with Burning Hands but what happens when you are foolish enough to get yourself surrounded, huh? It's during these times that those corners in block mode look very inviting!
    RANGED ENEMIES (any type)- There is nothing that a ranged enemy likes better than seeing a robed bull's eye running around the battlefield! He know they are relatively easily to hit with low hit points and they will soon be decorating the landscape unless they duck behind a tank's shield or corner for cover!

  2. #2
    Community Member Xionanx's Avatar
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    I would like to add:

    Know Your Enemy There is a major difference between a caster who KNOWS what effects what monster and one who just casts willy nilly. If you play a caster of ANY type, take the time to learn the quests you will be running. You can greatly increase how effective you and your team are by using the foresight to your advantage. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ADMIT YOU HAVE NEVER RUN THE QUEST BEFORE!! Then proceed to ask others what you will be facing.

    There is no greater AC then not getting hit at all What does this mean? It means dont stand still and get behind the tanks. If there is a monster anywhere and it can see you, more then likely at some point it WILL try to attack you. Your best bet is to keep moving and keep tanks between you and the monster. Ranged and Melee attacks will miss you if you move away from where they are aimed. It can not be stressed more! (you would be surprised how effective it is to simply DONT GET HIT, yet I see Wizards standing still out in the open all the time)

    Crowd Control > Spell Damage Yeah, you can do 100+ damage with your Niacs, however if you toss down a Web you contribute more to the party. Big bad Elemental beating your tanks to death? Well you could stand there and try to MM it to death, or you could walk up and Otto's Dance it. Which is the better SP use? The Ottos of course. It is now helpless and has a much lower AC. The melee attackers will make short work of it. Learn how to make the enemies the melee attackers face as helpless as possible. Everyone benefits when the monsters cant fight back.

    You DPS when it matters See above points for why this is last on the list. If you (A) Took the time to plan ahead (B) Didn't die to trash monsters and (C) Crowd Controlled you are now ready to dish out some massive damage on the monsters the melee attackers cant damage. There are plenty of chances for you to drop your maximized empowered extended hieghtened enlarged spell of massive damage. Know when that time is and do it. If you can kill the AC50 DR30/- Boss monster with 2 spells, do it. (but do so with impunity by knowing what spell effects it, moving so it cant hit you, and crowd controlling)

    Now, as far as wraiths go as mentioned by the OP, this is completely contrary to what he suggests, but I have found that by droping an empowered extended firewall and then running back and forth in it, wraiths never touch me, stay IN the flames, and die like punks quickly and easily. This tends to freak out melee and clerics though who think Im gonna die and get all flustered and stressed. Some people just cant understand how its easier for you to kill these then for the melee. Use this tactic with that in mind, as some people just wont get it and will think your a bad/suicidal wizard.

  3. #3
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    The only rule you need to remember as a caster is dont aggro anything you cant do one of the following to:

    1. Kill easily
    2. CC easily
    3. Outrun.

  4. #4
    Community Member Vincenz's Avatar
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    I put a fair amount of points into both tumble and balance on my caster, that helps a lot. Displacement is really useful too.

    P.S. I blur others...I displace myself.

  5. #5
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    Nice thread. I've recently started playing a wizard for the first time, and advice on how not to die is appreciated.

    Now I just wish I hadn't sold that +2 mithral tower shield I got last night .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dariun View Post
    Nice thread. I've recently started playing a wizard for the first time, and advice on how not to die is appreciated.

    Now I just wish I hadn't sold that +2 mithral tower shield I got last night .
    Well equiped casters dont use shields. Dual wield all the way. Lore item in one hand and potency (glaciation, combustion, etc) item in the other. Nuke em til they die.

  7. #7
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    One point you left out:

    While your fighters may be playing relatively stupid characters, you should never assume that the player behind that character is a mirror image of the dwarf paladin who can't tell which side of the book is supposed to face up. There is oftentimes a perfectly logical and reasonable method behind their apparent madness.

    There are a couple of casters on Aerenal who forget this a lot, and tend to leave parties in a huff if we aren't playing the way they expect us to. Yes, the "shield wall" is a pretty good fighter strategy. It does, however have a few gaps. To address these gaps, a lot of us melee types have started using the "furball" strategy. This involves:

    1. Open door.
    2. Charge through door, weapon swinging, trying to hit as many monsters as possible and divert the entire room's attention onto us. This creates a "furball" of relatively weak monsters who are all attacking something they have no chance of hitting. For instance, I am a Warforged Pally with 32 AC, 50% fortification, and 13 spell resistance. The small horde of CR 3 Trogs trying to hit me really doesn't concern me in the slightest while I'm busy taking out their chief or shaman.
    3. Proceed through the wave of relatively weak monsters and run directly into the face of any boss, caster, or cleric.
    4. Beat, shield bash, intimidate or trip this mob to get it's attention firmly focussed on the melees, then move directly onto the nearest caster, (if it's a melee boss), and repeat.

    Correctly executing this strategy means that the players with somewhere around 100 hp take the inevitable 30 point lightning bolt, fireball, or searing light INSTEAD of the little mages with 40 hp total. It also means that the players least likely to do over 40 points of burst damage are stuck in the globes of darkness or obscuring mists. All of which leaves you free to do what you do best, picking one target or group of targets and completely destroying them from a distance. You can keep yourself alive and around to do that damage by:

    A. Not standing directly in front of the door we're about to throw open.
    B. Wandering in at the same time as the cleric moves up and using your CC spells to give yourself a small safe area of webs or the like while you choose your targets.

    Many of us on the front line use this strategy almost instinctively, and we do not discuss it with you first. This is probably our own fault when things do go wrong, but at least think about where you are in the party. If you're a caster or cleric, you're on the back row. When you're on this row, you have time to think about the battle before you act. Take this time. If you see us using a particular strategy, adapt. If you want a specific strategy used, tell us in advance of the quest.

    Because when all is said and done, if you're face down at the end of every battle, that's probably not the fault of every fighter you've ever grouped with. Nor is it the cleric's fault for not healing you fast enough. More than likely it's the fault of the moron who threw an 80 pt Niac's at a 200 hp boss while we're still trying to get its attention. I'm sorry you died, perhaps you'll be smarter next time.

  8. #8

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    Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a sure-fire way to guarantee that the monster chasing you will continue to chase you. If it is attacking you in the first place, odds are it is kinda tough to hit (see: scorpions, spiders for great examples of those)...by running around you are saddling your melees with an additional -4 to hit it, making it quite hard for them to get aggro back.

  9. #9
    Community Member Vincenz's Avatar
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    I always have my "back up spells" for just such emergencies. A nice scorching ray will usually take care of anything that gets through the lines to the caster very quickly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matuse View Post
    Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a sure-fire way to guarantee that the monster chasing you will continue to chase you. If it is attacking you in the first place, odds are it is kinda tough to hit (see: scorpions, spiders for great examples of those)...by running around you are saddling your melees with an additional -4 to hit it, making it quite hard for them to get aggro back.
    Many times though the problem is if you stop you get hit and die. So instead of stopping for the fighters there should be a plan in place to get the mob to stop without the squishy stopping. What we usually do in our party is to pinch the mob with the fighters. Basically two fighters line up near a wall and pinch the mob as the squishy runs along the wall. If there is no wall nearby 3 fighter types can create a V and the squishy runs through it to pinch the mob. Sometimes the mob just runs around your fighters but with a bit of practice and communication it is one of the best ways to transfer aggro off the squishy.

  11. #11
    Community Member Dasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuckOfDeath View Post
    The only rule you need to remember as a caster is dont aggro anything you cant do one of the following to:

    1. Kill easily
    2. CC easily
    3. Outrun.
    This is prolly the best thing you can do to stay alive..
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  12. #12
    Community Member MuadDib's Avatar
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    You know how players usually try to kill the enemy casters first? The enemy AI often has the same plan regarding your casters and mobs will run by melee to get to the casters quite often. This is especially true of some of the nastier mobs like elite spiders, who seem to view casters as tasty snacks in exactly the same way rust monsters view warforged.

    The best way to stay alive with a caster is haste, jump and appropriate resists. A great caster is impossible for a melee character to catch, dodges ranged attacks and ray attacks from enemy casters, and knows what crowd control to use in each situation to make sure your party only needs to fight one or two monsters at a time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Matuse
    Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a sure-fire way to guarantee that the monster chasing you will continue to chase you. If it is attacking you in the first place, odds are it is kinda tough to hit (see: scorpions, spiders for great examples of those)...by running around you are saddling your melees with an additional -4 to hit it, making it quite hard for them to get aggro back.
    I couldn't disagree with this more. While the caster is running they are alive and if you can't figure out how to take aggro back the problem is with you and not the caster. It sounds like you want your group's caster to stop and block just to make it easy for you to kill the mob, regardless of whether the caster will die in the process. That doesn't strike you as poor teamwork?

    If you are playing a melee, position yourself in his path so he can run to you and you can whack the mob as it runs by. If you are playing a cleric, use Soundburst. If you are playing a ranger, tag it from range. If you are playing another arcane, put a CC on the mob or tag it with a damaging spell to ping pong the aggro back and forth. Asking a caster to stop running from an elite brown spider prince is ridiculous.

  13. #13
    Community Member Vincenz's Avatar
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    Yep, I have 25% boots of striding to keep my squishie butt moving fast if need be.

  14. #14

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    I couldn't disagree with this more. While the caster is running they are alive and if you can't figure out how to take aggro back the problem is with you and not the caster.
    Getting aggro back means hitting things. If running around makes something unhittable, then it is also un-aggroable.

    I have no problems at all in getting or keeping aggro so long as I can hit. When I'm playing catch up to wizard-with-his-head-cut-off, I can't hit.

    Intimidate has never impressed me as a good skill, given how much you need to focus on it to get it to work properly, and the number of creatures (like for example, every undead in the entire game) who are flat out immune to it.

    It sounds like you want your group's caster to stop and block just to make it easy for you to kill the mob, regardless of whether the caster will die in the process. That doesn't strike you as poor teamwork?
    Blocking in one place (the tower shield idea is not a bad one) is one possibility, but running INTELLIGENTLY is another. Running in such a way that the thing chasing you is kept in a small and defined area so that everyone else does not need to go all over hell and high water persuing it. Standing there and dying is not a solution...

    ...but running around and preventing your groupmates from helping you is not a solution either.

    3/4s of the aggro problems that wiz/sorcs encounter comes from being blast happy. Wait a few seconds after the fight starts before you start doing anything. It will actually make the encounter go a hell of a lot smoother. I cringe whenever the melees are charging towards a group, only to be preceeded by a fireball, and then the finger waggler *****ing that all the monsters went after him.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matuse View Post
    Intimidate has never impressed me as a good skill, given how much you need to focus on it to get it to work properly, and the number of creatures (like for example, every undead in the entire game) who are flat out immune to it.
    This is incorrect. Intimidate works on intelligent undead. Which includes wraiths, skeleton archers and warriors, mummies, ghouls, ghasts, and so forth. Every single creature in the wizard-king is possible to intimidate.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuadDib View Post
    The best way to stay alive with a caster is haste, jump and appropriate resists. A great caster is impossible for a melee character to catch, dodges ranged attacks and ray attacks from enemy casters, and knows what crowd control to use in each situation to make sure your party only needs to fight one or two monsters at a time.

    I couldn't disagree with this more. While the caster is running they are alive and if you can't figure out how to take aggro back the problem is with you and not the caster. It sounds like you want your group's caster to stop and block just to make it easy for you to kill the mob, regardless of whether the caster will die in the process. That doesn't strike you as poor teamwork?
    Although I agree with the first paragraph here, as someone who plays a caster, an intimi-tank, and a DPS melee, I think the second paragraph is flat out wrong.

    If I'm on my caster and I'm running around with something chasing me, that means I'm going to kill it and I don't expect any help. I tell the fighters that if we haven't played together before. If, on the other hand, I want agro to be pulled off of me, I do one of two things: either run in a straight line back and forth through a stationary fighter, never pulling my attacker out of his attack range, or run in small circles around a stationary fighter, never pulling my attacker out of his intimidate range. Running in a straight line through a fighter will almost always result in the enemy getting hung up trying to get around the fighter.

    If you're running all over the room with something you can't kill chasing you, you absolutely deserve to die.
    Last edited by Averroes; 12-12-2006 at 07:08 PM.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jink Ironcleave View Post
    1. Open door.
    2. Charge through door, weapon swinging, trying to hit as many monsters as possible and divert the entire room's attention onto us. This creates a "furball" of relatively weak monsters who are all attacking something they have no chance of hitting. For instance, I am a Warforged Pally with 32 AC, 50% fortification, and 13 spell resistance. The small horde of CR 3 Trogs trying to hit me really doesn't concern me in the slightest while I'm busy taking out their chief or shaman.
    3. Proceed through the wave of relatively weak monsters and run directly into the face of any boss, caster, or cleric.
    4. Beat, shield bash, intimidate or trip this mob to get it's attention firmly focussed on the melees, then move directly onto the nearest caster, (if it's a melee boss), and repeat.

    Correctly executing this strategy means that the players with somewhere around 100 hp take the inevitable 30 point lightning bolt, fireball, or searing light INSTEAD of the little mages with 40 hp total. It also means that the players least likely to do over 40 points of burst damage are stuck in the globes of darkness or obscuring mists. All of which leaves you free to do what you do best, picking one target or group of targets and completely destroying them from a distance. You can keep yourself alive and around to do that damage by:

    Getting every1 to hide behind the walls beside the doorway, cast web on door, hide, 1 ranged grab agro n hide, then hack away when they stick only uses 15 sp when correctly executed properly... something must be wrong with your group esp when people do not listen

    A. Not standing directly in front of the door we're about to throw open.
    B. Wandering in at the same time as the cleric moves up and using your CC spells to give yourself a small safe area of webs or the like while you choose your targets.

    i would say tanks stand away from the door to allow the casters to prep the area then open... many forget this n causes casters to waste sp unnecessarily. always cc then pull not rush then cc

    Many of us on the front line use this strategy almost instinctively, and we do not discuss it with you first. This is probably our own fault when things do go wrong, but at least think about where you are in the party. If you're a caster or cleric, you're on the back row. When you're on this row, you have time to think about the battle before you act. Take this time. If you see us using a particular strategy, adapt. If you want a specific strategy used, tell us in advance of the quest.

    Because when all is said and done, if you're face down at the end of every battle, that's probably not the fault of every fighter you've ever grouped with. Nor is it the cleric's fault for not healing you fast enough. More than likely it's the fault of the moron who threw an 80 pt Niac's at a 200 hp boss while we're still trying to get its attention. I'm sorry you died, perhaps you'll be smarter next time.

    u'll b fine with these tactics on lower lvls. go on to the desert area n i like to c u rush gnolls n drow scrops with *gasp* blade barrier
    enjoy your tactics while u can in ww, stk
    If you want to know why...

  18. #18
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    Post Script:

    Know your spells: Have an awareness of what things your spell can target/not target. The descriptions in your spell aren't always cut and dry.

    Know what AOE stands for: Area of Affect. A spell that targets more than one mob at once. There is a time and a place for that wall of fire and web, and in the middle of a fascinate is not the time for it :P save it for later. Don't hit it unless you want it to hit you back.

    Know what the rest of your party can do: Bother to pay attention to what your party is able to do. Is your tank all about the whirlwind attack? CC spells that render the target helpless might be a better choice than the ones that merely make the monster have nappy time until someone hits them. Bard in the party? Might wanna save some of that mana for the harder parts of the fight - don't waste it on mobs your party members already have under control. Warforged among the pack? You might be on healing detail.

    Recognize caster vs melee mobs: Sure, your web will work great on that little shaman, but some of the more melee type mobs are gonna prance right through it; try a willsave based spell on melee types. Hey, hold monster is awesome, but how many casts you plan on spending on that wizard mob? Try something with a fort save instead, you know from personal experience that casters tend to not be as hearty of folk.

    How does this keep you alive? No party wipe = no dead caster.
    And at best, keeps them from dropping you from the group.
    Thank you all!
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  19. #19
    Community Member Darkdominion's Avatar
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    Jump. I'll say it again, Jump. In my experience, if you run around in circles jumping, especially if you are hasted, you pretty much don't get hit. Also, all those little ac boosting things help, AC bracers, spectacular optics, these things are great. My favorite tactic is laying down a firewall, then just running through it, jumping all the time. Does great damage, and you don't get hit. Just never stop moving, and makes sure you have jump on at all times. Also, striding items or haste are also a great benefit. Most of the time you can just stay out of range of all those enemies. A great way to practice is in pvp, as most melees act the same way as the monsters do.
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