Reaver Strategies

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What is a Reaver?
According to the Camelot Herald (
http://www.camelotherald.com) the Reaver is a hybrid Necromancer/Fighter. While this is generally true as they do share some abilities, namely life tap and armor debuff, there are more differences between Necromancers and Reavers than similarities. Generally, a Reaver is a light tank, with the ability to cast some spells.

What is the unique feature of the Reaver?
Many classes have something that makes them unique, a stand out quality. For instance, Paladins have chants and can wear plate, Armsmen can wear plate and wield pole arms, Heroes can use their Stag form, etc. What Reavers get is the ability to wield Flexible weapons, life tap, armor debuff, damage debuff, chain armor, and evade.

How does one become a Reaver?
First, only Inconnu, Saracen, and Britons can become Reavers. So unless you are one of those races look elsewhere. Why no Avalonians or Highlanders? My theory is that Avalonians are just too wimpy, and no Reaver would ever be caught dead wearing a dress. :)

Reavers start as fighters. At 5th level you will join the Guild of Shadows. NOTE: the Camelot Herald lists this as you joining the Temple of Arawn; however, you will find that all of your quests, as well as your trainers will be found in the Guild of Shadows (the same place Infiltrators, Cabalists, and Mercenaries get their classes and quests).

What do I need to know before I start my Reaver?

1) Both Flex and Slash will auto train for a Reaver. What does this mean? Well. some people want to squeeze out every available spec point when they reach level 50 in order to have the "uber" setup. That is their choice, but it will certainly make the going difficult in getting to level 50.

2) Our primary stat is Strength, and therefore it will increase every time you level.

3) Our secondary stat is Dexterity, and therefore it will increase every two levels.

4) Our tertiary stat is Piety, and therefore it will increase every three levels.

5) Our Constitution will never naturally increase as we level. This leads to a fighter with a lot fewer hit points than his weapon wielding buddies.

6) It is generally agreed that a Reaver's strength lies in the Flexible weapon styles, which tend to be situational or positional in nature. Therefore, the Reaver is NOT a stick and fight kind of class. There is a lot of work involved in getting these styles off.

7) Reavers are a fairly advanced class to play. You must be mindful of Area of Effect spells, crowd control, assists, Guards, protects, engage, etc or you can very easily get your entire group killed in the process.


Starting your Reaver
You start your Reaver by first picking a race which can become a Reaver, namely Inconnu, Saracen, or Briton. There are advantages and disadvantages of each race, though at higher levels it will matter little as your equipment can easily make up for these differences.

Next, you will need to select the starting class of Fighter, and distribute your points into the appropriate stats. Generally, people tend to place the points into Constitution, Strength, and Dexterity as these will be your bread and butter as you level.

At this point you can choose your starting location. Britons can start at either Caer Gothwaite or Prydwen Keep; Saracen may start at Campacorentin Station or Caer Gothwaite; and Inconnu must start at Caer Gothwaite.

Now go beat on things until you get to level 5. If you start in Caer Gothwaite (and why wouldn't you?) there are a bulk of beasts just down the hill, around and in both of the lakes which are not aggressive, and quick to get to. Additionally, many of these beasts drop good loot for you, such as studded armor. As soon as you are able, have someone craft you a better weapon or buy one. It will greatly speed up your leveling process.

I generally recommend you not to use your skill points until you reach level 5, as your class defining ability (flexible weapons) will not be available to you until then.

Welcome to level 5! Now, go find your new trainer. In Caer Gothwaite he can be found around the corner from the bind stone (take a right at that wussy paladin trainer). In Camelot you can find him under the cathedral (in the crypt in the courtyard of the church).

Now, you will be asked which type of weapon you are going to use. This is worded VERY poorly. I cannot count the number of times I have been asked about this. He is not asking you to pick a weapon spec, just a weapon. If you say slash you will get a whip, if you say crush you will get a flail. It really is very simple.

Now, what to do with those points? Generally, when people ask me that question, I recommend putting 4 points into Flexible, and 3 points into Soulrending. This should give you 2 styles in the Flexible line, as well as a start of spells in your Soulrending line. Let's talk about both of these lines for a moment.

Flexible Weapons
Flexible weapons are a new type of weapon which was introduced with the Shrouded Isles expansion and is usable exclusively with the Reaver class. These weapons have the ability to deal both crushing and slashing damage. Unlike the Polearm or Two Handed weapon specs of the Armsman and the Paladin, it is not necessary to spec in a secondary weapon line to decrease your damage variance. In other words: DO NOT WASTE SPEC POINTS PUTTING ANYTHING INTO EITHER CRUSH OR SLASH! Whew, glad I got that off my chest.

There are some interesting catches to the Flexible weapon lines however, which should be noted. The Flexible line currently lacks a good anytime style. What is an anytime style? Well, it is something you can do at any time, without dependence on a set of situations. Examples include Amethyst Slash in the Slash line, Doublefrost in the Left Axe line, or Poleaxe in the Polearm line.

Most of the styles in the Flexible line are situational or positional. Situational styles require something to happen before they can be performed (a parry or a block), while positional styles require you to be positioned in a location relative to the enemy before they can be used (such as behind or to the side).


The strengths and weaknesses of these styles are discussed below.


At spec level 2 you will get
Blacksnake, it has no prerequisite to use (and therefore could be considered and anytime style). It will use medium fatigue, and will add a small amount of damage. This style will not increase in damage add as you level, and will quickly be discarded for more advanced styles.

At spec level 4 you will get Kingsnake, it requires that you parry before you can use the style. Additionally, this style has a medium bonus to hit, gives a low bonus to defense, uses low fatigue, and produces High bonus damage. Additionally this style will cause your enemy to bleed a bit of damage each turn. This style begins the parry chain and will be used throughout the remainder of your life as a Reaver.

At spec level 6 you will get Diamondback, it has no prerequisite to use. It carries with it a medium defensive penalty, a medium fatigue cost, and a low damage add. Additionally, the use of this style will taunt an enemy, thereby drawing aggression to you from other players. This style is one that many Reavers use as an anytime style.

At spec level 8 you will get Asp, the first of your positional styles. Asp requires that you are behind your target to use it. It carries a medium attack bonus, a High fatigue cost, and medium additional damage. Additionally, this attack has an extended range making it excellent for pursing fleeing enemies. Testing has shown that the extended range of attack is anywhere from 1.5-2X the distance of your normal attack.

At spec level 10 you will get Viper, it requires that you block before you can use the style. This style has a medium bonus to hit, a low defensive bonus, low endurance usage, and High additional damage. Additionally, this attack will stun your enemy for 5 seconds, allowing you to pull off other styles or continue through the block chain, which this style begins.

At spec level 12 you will get Copperhead, it chains directly off of Viper, making it the 2nd attack in the block chain. It cannot be used unless Viper was successful on your previous attack. This style has a medium bonus to attack, a medium bonus to defense, a low fatigue cost, and High additional damage. Additionally, this style will slow your attackers attack speed for 20 seconds.

At spec level 15 you will get Tigersnake, it chains directly off of Kingsnake, making it the 2nd style in the parry chain. It cannot be used unless Kingsnake was successful on your previous attack. This style carries a High attack bonus, a low fatigue cost, and High additional damage.

At spec level 18 you will get Indigosnake, which is a side based positional style. This style carries a medium attack bonus, a medium fatigue cost, and medium additional damage. Additionally, this attack will cause a lifetap, spell to be instantly cast (using no power of your own) which delves for 58 points direct damage, and is based on the spirit resistance table. This style is the beginning of the side attack chain.

At spec level 21 you will get Boomslang, which is an anytime style. This style carries a Very High defensive bonus, and costs medium endurance. There is no additional damage with this attack. Additionally, this style will detaunt your enemy, making them consider attacking a different opponent.

At spec level 25 you will get Python, which is an anytime style. This style carries a Low attack bonus, a Low defensive bonus, a Very High fatigue cost, and Low additional damage. Additionally, this attack carries a 30 point Area of Affect (AOE) strength debuff. Caution should be used when using this attack as it WILL currently break crowd control methods.

At spec level 29 you will get Taipan, it chains directly off of Copperhead making it the 3rd style in the block chain. It cannot be used unless Copperhead has successfully landed on the previous attack. Taipan carries with is a High bonus to attack, a low fatigue cost, and High additional damage.

At spec level 34 you will get Constrictor, which chains directly off of Indigosnake making it the 2nd and final style in the side attack chain. It cannot be used unless Indigosnake was landed successfully the previous attack. It carries a High bonus to hit, a Low fatigue cost, and High additional damage. Some interesting notes about this style: The icon indicates it follows an evade, it does not. Additionally, it appears that the style has some form of a hindering effect on your enemy, but it is not documented on the Herald.

At spec level 39 you will get Anaconda, which chains directly off of Tigersnake making it the 3rd and final attack in the parry chain. It carries a High attack bonus, a low defensive bonus, a medium fatigue cost, and High additional damage. Additionally, this style will stun your enemy for 9 seconds.

At spec level 44 you will get Cobra, which chains directly off of Taipan making it the 4th and final style in the block chain. It carries a High attack bonus, a Low fatigue cost, and High additional damage. Additionally, this attack will cause a lifetap spell to be instantly cast (using no power of your own) which delves for 153 points direct damage, and is based on the spirit resistance table.

At spec level 50 you will get Leviathan, which requires you to be behind your enemy to use. It carries a medium attack bonus, a medium fatigue cost, and Medium additional damage. Additionally, this attack will cause a direct damage spell to be instantly cast (using no power of your own) which delves for 153 points direct damage, and is based on the cold resistance table.

Flexible Style Recommendations
Now that we have looked at each of these styles at great length you can see where each of them falls. Unlike some Spec Lines (slash for instance) it is actually advantageous to take Flexible all the way to 50 as in order to get the Leviathan style. Damage from Leviathan can be classified as nothing short of "obscene" (as my good friend has told me). It should be noted that, as most of the damage for the Reaver comes from long chains, that PvE and RvR combat is a little different than most, and will evolve as you gain in levels.

For example at level 20 an average PvE pull would look something like this:

1) Engage (received at level 7 shields)
2) Cast Damage-Over-Time
3) Wait for enemy to close the distance.
4) Wait for first block, after block
5) Viper
6) Viper Again (the enemy is stunned after all)
7) Copperhead
8) Lifetap
9) Continue Battle

Or this:

1) Engage (received at level 7 shields)
2) Cast Damage-Over-Time
3) Wait for enemy to close the distance.
4) Wait for first block, after block
5) Viper
6) Strafe to the side of the target
7) Indigosnake
8) Lifetap
9) Continue battle

Generally following either of these combinations the enemy will be near 50% health. Not a bad way to start a fight.

At level 45 a PvE pull might look like this:

1) Engage
2) Cast Damage-Over-Time
3) Wait for enemy to close the distance.
4) Wait for first block, after block
5) Viper
6) Viper Again
7) Copperhead
8) Taipan
9) Lifetap
10) Cobra
11) Continue battle

Generally, even at these high levels enemies will be near 50% health following that block chain.

Now that we have looked at the combat styles, let's look at what makes a Reaver a hybrid.

Soulrending Spell Line

Reavers receive the Soulrending spell line when the become Reavers at level 5. There are 7 basic spells in the line, with additional degrees of potency every few levels.

The first spell type is a lifetap spell. The low end of the spell will return 70% of the damage done, while the high end will return 90% of the damage done. The lifetap is instantly cast (which means you can use it in the middle of battle without exiting combat) and is on a 30 second recast timer. Additionally, this spell has a range of 1000. New versions of this spell are given at spec levels 1,4,8,13,19,26,32,41 and 50.

The next spell type is a damage add spell. This spell will add 2.4dps on the low end, all the way to 15.0dps on the high end. This spell is castable on yourself only, is instantly cast, has a 30 second duration, and only be cast every 2.5 minutes. Additionally, this spell does not stack with the wizard damage add, but will stack with the paladin damage add chant. New versions of this spell are given at spec levels 4,9,15,22,29,36 and 44.

The next spell type is a pulsing, point blank area of effect (PBAOE) damage chant. This chant delves for anywhere from 3 damage to 43 damage as it increases in level, and is based on the spirit resist tables. Each pulse is 8 seconds apart, and has a radius of 350 units. This chant uses power with every pulse. This chant will break mez and root, be careful with it. New versions of this chant are given at spec levels 2, 5,10,14,21,26,33,40 and 50.

The next spell type is a pulsing, point blank area of effect (PBAOE) absorption debuff chant. This chant will remove anywhere from 5% to 15% of its targets armor absorption as it increases in level, and is based on the spirit resist table. Each pulse is 8 seconds apart, effects its target for 10 seconds, and has a radius of 350 units. This chant uses power with every pulse. This chant will not break mez or root, it is your friend in group situations. New versions of this chant are given at spec levels 5, 10,17,25,35 and 47.

The next spell type is a pulsing, point blank area of effect (PBAOE) damage debuff chant. This chant will remove anywhere from 3% to 21% of its targets damage dealing capacity as it increases in level, and is based on the spirit resist table. Each pulse is 8 seconds apart, effects its target for 10 seconds, and has a radius of 350 units. This chant uses power with every pulse. This chant will not break mez or root, it is your friend in group situations. New versions of this chant are given at spec levels 3,8,13,20,27,35 and 45.

The next type of spell is an offensive proc which has the ability to lifetap the target with each swing of your weapon. This lifetap will return anywhere from 30% to 50% of the damage it procs to you. This spell has a 15 minute duration and takes 3 seconds to cast. New versions of this spell are given at spec levels 3, 7,12,21,31 and 45.

The final spell type is a damage over time (DOT) spell. The low end of the spell will deal 2d per 6 seconds to 23d per 6 seconds over the course of 24 seconds. The DOT is instantly cast (which means you can use it in the middle of battle without exiting combat) and is on a 30 second recast timer. Additionally, this spell has a range of 1500. New versions of this spell are given at spec levels 1, 6,12,18,23,29,35,42 and 49. This spell is the primary method used by most Reavers for pulling.

Solo Strategies

Something that will become obvious very early is that the Reaver is not necessarily the best soloing class in the game. However, it does not mean it cannot be done very well. First, always hunt undead enemies or ones that are weak to spirit damage. Additionally, use the damage type that these enemies are weak to (either crush or slash), if any.

Always engage before you pull, that way you can start your block chain right away.

Be mindful of enemies nearby, your area of effect spells have a tendency to create a lot of havoc when you pull 3-5 additional enemies just because you weren't paying attention.

Be mindful of your endurance. Our styles tend to eat up endurance very quickly, leaving you with no means of escape for sprinting away.

Group Strategies

Here is where the Reaver can really shine, if only other people knew how best to fight with them. The same principles as when you solo hunt apply to grouping, with these few caveats.

Try to find a group with a paladin (or more), you will find it much easier to get off your positional styles if they are holding the aggression while you beat ceaselessly on the enemy. They are not there to do the damage, just hold the enemy in place while you do the damage.

Always remember your protects! If your healer dies, chances are so will you. Keep them clerics and friars happy!
Always remember your guards! You can still perform your block chain even if you are not the one being attacked, but block for someone else. Keep that guard up!

Be careful of your pulsing spells, remember that the damage spells will break root and mez, while your debuffs will not.

Be careful using Python, for some reason the AOE strength debuff will break root and mez, it is best not used any situation.

While we have the ability to be the main tank for a group, it is a job best reserved for those with tank hit points and wearing plate armor.
 

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By
Gwirad - 50th Reaver - Guinevere
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Last modified: 02/16/07
 

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