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VETERAN TIPS - Nightmare/Cataclysm

JebedyJebedy 35 PointsMember, Level2
Greetings fellow rat-bashers,

I've compiled a wee list of tips, acquired through far too many hours sat staring at my PC watching a dwarf (mostly) grunt his way to ratty genocide. They're intended for those who've already mastered the basics and are beginning to play on Nightmare/Cataclysm, or perhaps just contemplating the challenge. Apologies for those who don't like words... there's quite a lot of them.

TIP 1: OGRES - THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO TANK! It took me a good twenty levels to realise you can actually block and dodge an ogre's meaty smash... and another 80 levels to get half-way good at it. When tanking an ogre you need to realise one thing: running won't save you for long, and it will make it far more difficult for your teammates to target the brute, especially if they're dependent on melee (perhaps having run out of ammo, which is often the case). So what should you do when this over-sized bugger targets you? It's surprisingly simple, though takes practise to time correctly. You should attack it head on with your melee weapon, getting 1-3 strikes (dependent on the attack speed of your weapon) before the ogre initiates its own attack. When you see its arm(s) raising for a swing you need to backwards dodge while blocking (S + SPACEBAR and RMB). Having evaded/blocked the ogre's attack you need to move forward again and land another hit or two of your melee weapon. Don't neglect to do this. It may require balls of steel, but doing so prevents the ogre from hurling you across the map and changing targets. Rinse and repeat: Hit, backwards dodge with block, advance. You'd be surprised how long you can tank this way without losing any (or much) health, and you'll be optimising your team's damage output at the same time.

TIP 2: OGRES - HOW NOT TO WIPE! Ogre fights are all about priorities, of which, critically, the ogre is the lowest. In a typical encounter one player will be tanking the ogre at all times - this is pretty much a full-time job until he switches target, so don't expect your tank to also be dealing with adds. The other three players should focus on three things: 1. Reviving any dead teammates, 2. Killing any adds (additional targets - rats, Stormvermin, Gunners, etc) beginning, crucially, with those attacking or near the player tanking the ogre, 3. Attacking the ogre. The key part is doing things in that order. So why revive first? Although a revived player will be bleeding out (grey health) they'll be able to do full damage, tank, and buy the team vital time. Reviving someone takes a few seconds and should be the absolute priority of every player except the lucky chap who's tanking the ogre. Incidentally, you can even revive the body of a player being beaten on by the ogre, just position yourself far enough away not to be hit by his area-effect swings. The second priority is taking out any adds, and this is the mistake most players make; they ignore the adds and focus-fire the big guy! Ignore those pesky rats at your peril, especially on higher difficulties - the main difference of which is the damage you take per hit. Just remember this: although he's big, scary and pumped full of ratty steroids with effective tanking that ogre won't kill you anything like as quickly as his little brothers will.

TIP 3: OGRES - A LITTLE EXTRA! Don't underestimate strength potions. The difference they make to damage output is huge (something like one hit equates to three regular hits), and remember they apply to all damage, including ranged weapons (bizarrely). Similarly, the number of extra hits you can get with a speed potion is significant. If you have either available then it's definitely worth chugging during an ogre fight. Many of you will have the 'rack of vials' trinket, which applies strength and speed potions to the entire team, the Exotic version of which has no duration penalty. A strength, or even speed potion used in conjunction with this trinket at the right time will drastically increase the rate at which the ogre bites the dust. If you notice the strength effect appear during an encounter then try to maximise your damage output while it lasts, but don't forget your priorities; revive, take out the adds, and only then focus on the ogre.

TIP 4: BOMB-TASTIC - WHEN NOT TO THROW! If you've played the game on Normal/Hard for any length of time then you probably already know when is a good time to throw a bomb... pretty much whenever the sh*t hits the fan, right? Toss one indiscriminately at the big guy! When surrounded drop one at your feet! Hurl one at teammates in trouble! Heck, if you just see a lot of rats then light them up with an incendiary bomb. Because... why not? The downside of this is that it conditions people to throw bombs with impunity, which you simply cannot do on Nightmare and Cataclysm, as they do significant team damage. You need to be extremely careful; incendiary bombs will even harm teammates walking into the explosion radius after the bomb has exploded. One reason to run to an open area when an ogre approaches is to give the team a window of opportunity to throw their bombs. If, however, this brief window has passed, or the big guy has sprung you in a tight spot then you need to resist the temptation to throw that bomb. It will almost certainly do more harm than good. I dare not contemplate the number of times my team has wiped because of a bomb thrown in desperation, or just out of habit, usually at an ogre surrounded by players. Incidentally, to all you Legolas wannabes (me too) be extremely careful, or just outright avoid using your Hagbane bow on Nightmare/Cataclysm runs. The poison effect does far more friendly-fire damage than would seem proportionate to that of ranged weapons. It's probably the equivalent to 5-10 arrows in the back per single proc of the poison.

TIP 5: PACKMASTERS - THE BACKWARDS SHUFFLE! There are of course many ways to kill a Packmaster, and it depends greatly on your choice of weapon, but there is one strategy that works almost universally. Packmasters can only hook you if they're close to you, and they don't run particularly fast, so one of the best techniques if you spot one is to shoot them with your ranged weapon while repeatedly backwards-dodging (the quickest way to move backwards). Even if you have a slow reloading sniper-type weapon this should give you enough time to shoot, reload, and shoot a second or even third time before the Packmaster is close enough to snare you on its filthsome hook! You can also simply turn round and run in the opposite direction to the incoming Packmaster, ideally towards your team. You'd be surprised how far you can often get before it is close enough to catch you. It's also worth noting that if they don't hook you within a certain time-frame they'll abandon the chase, at least for a short while.

TIP 6: ASSASSINS - PUSH, PING AND SWING! When it comes to Gutter Runners (assassins) their ability to fly half way across the map makes it impossible to out-run them, so if you spot one your priority should be staying close to comrades, pinging it (using the T key) so everyone can easily see the target, and then anticipating its trajectory while shooting it down. If a teammate has been grabbed then you should push, ping (flag it blue) and only then swing (attack it). If you push an assassin that is attacking someone you will cause it to instantly tumble off, at which point you can melee it to death as it rolls this way and that. Attacking an assassin in situ while it successively knifes your buddy will result in them losing half their health in the time it takes you to kill it. On lower difficulties this is less critical, but on Nightmare and above you should always push first... unless, of course, you happen to have a loaded one-shot rifle pointing at its assassiny head. Just don't miss!

TIP 7: ATTACK THROUGH THE RATS! As you get better at blocking/evading the rats in front of you, you'll quickly realise that most of your health is being lost to the buggers who hit you from behind. In an open-fight there's a trick to avoiding this; push, attack, move forward; push, attack, move forward. Literally, fight through the crowd. Once you reach the edge of the group loop around, push, and attack back the way you came (try not to leave any behind you on the way back in). It works for one simple reason: if you're always moving forward then you're far less likely to get hit from behind.

TIP 8: MAKE USE OF CHOKE POINTS! An even better way to avoid getting hit from behind is to make use of choke points in the map to channel the rats (particularly a horde) through a narrow space where the whole team can bash them in relative safety. Doorways are the obvious choice, because usually there's no other way in, but any narrow opening, corner, or even just backing up against a flat wall is better than nothing. If you've played the game even once the chances are you've seen this method in action, but it still astounds me how often otherwise good players don't do it. Be aware of the location of your team, particularly if you hear a Skaven horn indicating an incoming horde. Don't be the fool who finds himself surrounded while the other three guys have backed up against a wall!

TIP 9: HOW TO REVIVE LIKE A PRO! Reviving is simple, right? Point your curser in the direction of your buddy's corpse and press E! But what if they're surrounded by rats, intent on poking you in the ribs just before that revive bar completes? Do you kill every last one first, and then revive? No. Your absolute priority should always be bringing your teammates back to life, even when surrounded yourself, as it drastically increases your damage output and survivability as a team. All you have to do is hold block (RMB) while reviving. Providing your stamina holds, and it almost invariably does, this will allow you to revive an ally without being interrupted. As soon as they're revived make sure you push away any rats which surround them, lest they be brought down again during the 'dazed' phase post-revival. If the rats are so thick that you simply can't get to your teammate's corpse - such as when a Packmaster drags them into an incoming horde - then now's a perfect opportunity to use a bomb, even on a Nightmare run. Throw it directly at them. Not only will it clear you a path in, but it will eliminate all the rats poking at their body, which could well save them from dying completely. Don't forget to hold block while reviving though... it only takes one poke from one rat to interrupt you!

TIP 10: CONSERVE YOUR AMMO! This is so simple it may well sound condescending. My apologies, but it's actually something most players don't figure out until very late in the game. Don't use your ammunition when you can use melee. We've all been there: you need to take out that Gunner or Globadier but you've run out of arrows, bolts or bullets. It may well be because you ran through the map shooting every Tom, Dick and Ratty you spotted along the way (here's looking at you Elf). Try and think of ammunition as a life-saver (it literally is) and not something you want to burn through shooting foes which you and your team could just as easily fell with a few melee swings. On higher difficulty levels this really counts, so resist the temptation to show off, and save that ammo for when you need it most!

TIP 11: GETTING CARRIED AWAY! On carry missions (Supply and Demand, Wheat and Chaff, The White Rat, etc) don't try and rush the sacks/barrels at the expense of sticking with the team. This is the classic rookie mistake, and on harder difficulty levels you quickly realise it simply doesn't work. If you go off alone to rush a sack into the cart you could get hooked by a Packmaster, surrounded by an angry mob of rats, or you could just leave your team too vulnerable to take out that horde/special that attacks them in your absence. The cliché 'Stick Together' is no less true when fetching loot than it is the rest of the time. So what should you be doing? Move to the first sack/barrel as a team, throw it towards the destination, move to the second sack/barrel as a team, throw that towards the destination. Keep doing this, stopping and eliminating any incoming critters as a foursome, until you've worked all the sacks/barrels to their intended end-point as a group, in one movement. Disclaimer: the only exceptions to this on Nightmare/Cataclysm are the warehouse on Waterfront, in which it's better to have one player throwing the barrels down while the other three clear the ground level, and the end of The Enemy Below, in which one (or possibly two) players should remain on guard duty while the others cap the three barrels.

TIP 12: BARRELING ALONG! Don't get hit carrying barrels! Ever. If you get hit, the barrel will start to leak, and we all know what happens then... Not only is it useless (unless you're exceptionally close to the destination), but the impending explosion is also a liability to you and your team. You then have to wait for a replacement to respawn, which will likely be at a different, and often worse location. The trick - if you can call it that - is to always throw the barrel in the direction you want to move it before there's even a glimmer of a chance that you might get hit. As an example, take the barrel sequence on 'The White Rat' - you should throw the first barrel towards the second, deal with the ensuing horde as a team, then throw the first and second barrel towards the third, again dealing with the next wave together, and finally move all three barrels to the tower leak-free. Try not to throw barrels in to a location they might take an accidental melee swing, for obvious reasons.

TIP 13: TAKE YOUR MEDS! Leave Tomes in place of healing potions/packs during end-game encounters. This is particularly useful on harder difficulties, where you need every extra bit of healing you can get. For example, on The Horn of Magnus you can leave your Tomes on the platform and collect them after clearing the last wave. Similarly, if you find any health items during The Wizard's Tower final encounter you can do the same. This simple technique can often make the difference between victory and wipe-out! On the subject of healing, remember to give priority to the grimoire carriers, which should ideally be the best players in the group. If a grimoire carrier outright dies then it will negatively impact the entire team during the loot roll, whereas if someone not carrying a grimoire dies there is no real consequence, providing his teammates can stay alive long enough to revive him further along in the mission. So if you want that legendary helm then keep your grimoire carriers alive! And if you're one of them, it might be worth playing things a little safer than you otherwise might.

TIP 14: TAKE YOUR CUE! React to the in-game sound effects which alert you, not only to incoming dangers, but immediate priorities. No doubt you're already acutely familiar with the Packmaster's rattling skulls, the Gutter Runner's 'whisper in the shadows' and the like, but it's not so much about recognising these sound effects, as knowing how best to react to them. If you hear a Packmaster/Assassin then make sure you're near an ally. If you hear the battle horn indicating an approaching Horde then look for a suitable choke-point to bottleneck them in, as well as being aware of teammates doing the same. If you hear the fizzing of a Poison Wind Globadier then be ready to quickly move to avoid gas bombs. And if you hear the roar of an ogre consider moving to an open area where you can easily backwards-dodge him, as well as creating some space for people to throw bombs prior to engaging in melee. Probably the most important sound to react quickly to is the alarm note which indicates a comrade has been hooked/grabbed. Make saving them your absolute priority, even over rats attacking you.

TIP 15: KNOW YOUR TRAITS! All weapons have traits, two for Rares, three for Exotics, but until you've experimented with dozens of variations on your preferred weapon type you won't appreciate which are vital and which are useless (some truly are). When it comes to damage output and functionality the best traits are those which apply a consistent bonus to the weapon. Master Crafted is essential for most ranged weapons, as it permanently increases the weapon's attack speed by 15%, or reduces the reload time by 50%, a dependable lifesaver in either case. An amazing trait with a low proc chance, such as Heroic Killing Blow, which gives a 1-3% to instantly slay the target, is pretty much worthless. Although the effect is great you can bet your bottom dollar the 3 in 100 times it procs won't be at the critical moment when you're about to die. Of course, this doesn't apply to health regeneration, which accumulates over the course of a game, making Regrowth and Bloodlust near essential on whichever weapon you kill/hit the most with. Pay attention to whether the effect applies to Normal or Charged attack - with the right setup you can run Nightmare without having to use a healing potion/med pack once.

Anyway, enough waffling for today! See you in-game folks.


  • DragoNDragoN 170 PointsMember, Level4
    Have some bits to add but not enough time. For now i ill just leave this:

    - Like you mention that reviving should be the top priority and done as soon as possible the same goes for when a teammate is getting pulled away/pouced by a special. At that moment they should be the priority.

    - Leave the Health items for the ones in the need or for those using aoe health sharing.

    - Potions stack exponentially. Like if the party is using the aoe potions share it can stack up to 200% to 400% to 800% and even getting to 1600% at a point. You can easily check that with the speed potion.
  • SkippyLeRouxSkippyLeRoux 17 PointsMember, Level2
    If I'm not mistaken only speed potions stack. Strength potions do not, unfortunately.
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