Albion scouts should be able to do significant damage to opponents with their archery skill, but must use melee skills as well to finish off wounded opponents. The general expectation is that these classes can do anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the damage to a blue-con mob using their special bow abilities, before needing to switch over to melee combat. However, scouts, hunters, and rangers are not supposed to be able to kill or nearly kill their target creatures before they ever reach the archer unless the target decides to stop to cast a spell or shoot an arrow back at the archer. That would make archery far too powerful. The famed Briton longbow, the Hibernian recurve bow, the Norse composite bow are the bows capable of these long range, high-damage archery attacks.
dextrorotary affects the draw time of your shots, with each additional point of dextrorotary reducing your draw time by 0.02 seconds. Dexterity also affects your fumble chances, possibly your miss chances, and has a minor affect on damage. Your bow specialization greatly affects bow damage.
Using Your Bow: The Basics
To be most effective with your bow (or crossbow), you should put your bow, any bow special abilities, your melee weapon, your shield, and any melee combat styles on your hot key bar. This will allow you to either click the appropriate hotkey with your mouse or use the corresponding number on the keyboard.
When you spot prey that you want to hunt, creep within range, being quiet so as not to alert your prey. Click the bow icon on your hot key bar to strip your bow out of its oilskin and string it. Click the bow a second time to select an arrow from the first bundle in your supplies, nock, and draw it. Depending on your quickness, you will need to take about 4 or 5 seconds to line up your shot. If you are a primary archer and the target is not running or in combat, you can instead click the critical shot hot key to draw a critical shot. Critical shots will have an increased draw time depending on the level of critical shot.
When you feel that you have everything lined up perfectly (there will be a message in your combat window stating “Ready to fire."), click again to loose the arrow. If the opponent was far enough away, you can rapidly click again to draw another arrow, aim, and loose it before the charging foe is close enough that you need to switch over to your melee combat gear. This is why you should have your melee weapon on the hot key bar also, as it makes drawing your sword and donning your shield much faster (both equip when you click the hotkey for one). Don't forget to take your combat stance as well. That can be taken by hitting a combat style hot key, starting off the melee with the combat style.
If the target starts to move, but will likely wander back into range, you have about 15 seconds of holding time before you grow to tired and need to relax your shot. If that happens, you must draw again in order to fire.
I recommend that new archers find some Gray-con mobs to practice upon until they feel proficient. Please search for an area that is not being utilized by those less skilled than you, as they need their own practice with melee and magical skills. Only by working together can we defend our realm against those who would seek to invade us, and the youngster you help advance today could be your shield mate tomorrow. Every time you begin to use a longer range arrow, spend about half a bundle checking the range against Gray-con creatures also, so that you find the limits of your new arrows' range, and can determine that approximate range when sneaking up on prey.
Using Your Bow: Advanced Techniques
If you click the bow hot key before you are ready to release your shot, it will auto release as soon as the draw time runs out. If you click it a second time before you are ready to loose the arrow, it will auto release the arrow and then automatically redraw for the next shot. If you click the bow hot key a third time before you are ready to loose the arrow, it will once again wait for a manual release.
Should your target move out of range, you may quickly change targets by selecting a different opponent that is in view, and attempt to loose at it. Should there be no other opponents in front of you, you may turn to try to find something else, but if you move your feet, your will need to draw again. Please note that there is a bug currently where if the original target is still in range and you directly change targets, the arrow will still be shot at the original target. This can be avoided by clearing the original target by hitting “Esc” on the keyboard or clicking on the grass or sky, then clicking the new target. Doing that will cause the arrow to fly to the new target.
Also, be ready to run when using archery to encourage opponents to chase you into an ambush set up by your group. Many creatures are intelligent, and call for help if they are wounded too severely. The first call for help usually occurs when the mob reaches half health, but sometimes occurs before that. Try hard not to damage the mob that much while they are still with yelling range of their companions or you will attract more attention than you can handle. Some creatures also like to bring friends when they are attacked, and they sense that you are leading them to an ambush.
If you find that you cannot learn to gauge the range of your pull arrow, there is a workaround using the ground target. First, go find someone’s gravestone, a bind stone, or a completely stationary mob (NPCs work) on level ground and determine the exact range of your arrows. Then hit and hold the ground target key (the default is F5) and use your movement keys to send the ground target icon to the location of the target. Now, whenever you tap the F5 key, the ground target will briefly appear at that relative distance from you, giving you an indication of your range. Please note that this will not take into account elevation effects on your range; if you are higher than your target your range is extended, if you are lower than your target your range is decreased.
At the moment, the arrows first encountered in your packs are the arrows you will shoot. As an advanced technique, line up your initial shot (probably a critical shot) with a flight arrow. While your character is aiming, switch to your normal arrows by swapping the position of your arrow bundles in your packs. Release the first shot and draw the next with the double click described above, and the monster should charge into the normal arrow range by the time you are ready to loose the second arrow. This will allow you to use cheaper arrows most of the time, but still be able to attack at the furthest range possible.
Primary archers have the option of standing back from a melee and firing at your foes in melee. This is a recommended tactic for scouts who are not using their shield to guard someone else in the party because their melee damage is usually less than their bow damage, but rangers and hunters may prefer melee over archery when group melee begins. Keep in mind that each arrow you shoot costs money, so using the cheaper clout arrows is recommended if you plan on firing into melee.
It is possible for several archers to coordinate their fire. Generally, you should signal to each other which opponent you are choosing to fire upon before drawing your arrows, and whether you will all fire normally or use a special ability. The designated commander will then call for everyone to ready their bow if someone still has their melee weapon out, draw, and loose. This takes significant practice, and should again be practiced until all are proficient in the correct timing. The commander must follow his own commands slightly after giving them in order to match the timing of everyone else in the unit.
If your unit can coordinate fire, every arrow hitting a stationary target will receive a bonus to hit for their lack of vigilance, as well as the cumulative effects of being turned into a sudden pincushion. It is difficult to say, but it appears that the opponent also suffers the multiple opponents penalty to their defence. Note that if you can learn to do this, then this is the best way to counter Pulsing Bladeturn spells in realm vs. realm combat.
Using Your Bow: Interruptions
Archers can be interrupted by taking damage or having a melee weapon waved around in their face (whether it connects or not). Any draw will be interrupted if it is attempted during the delay of the weapon being used against you, or 2 seconds after a shout attack. Also, any attack made against the archer during the draw animation will interrupt the attack. You are then immune to having your shot interrupted until you get the "Ready to Fire" message. At that point your held shot will be interrupted by the next attack. This interruption after being ready to fire can be avoided by using the auto release described in the "Using Your Bow: Advanced Techniques" section, as your arrow will be release the instant the timer runs out.
On the other side of the coin, once you hit a target and redraw on that same target, they will be interrupted for your quickness-modified draw time after they are hit. This is useful for countering casters trying to blast your party or healers attempting to keep their side alive.
Using Your Bow: The Quiver
The quiver has not been implemented, and we do not know when it will be implemented, if ever. The last I heard is that this would not likely ever make it into the game, but archers everywhere keep hoping as the current interface for swapping arrow types is clunky.
Our design goals for a quiver include being able to easily swap between at least 4 different types of arrows, take up minimal real estate in the user interface, and take a minimum number of clicks to select the arrow type to be shot. Hopefully the setting would be remembered from one shot to the next, unless a change is indicated. It might also be able to be used for thrown weapons and instrument swapping.
Effects of Specialization
Raising your bow specialization has an effect on the damage done by your normal shots, exactly the same way melee specialization has on melee skills. With no specialization, your damage varies from 25-125% of your base (which is determined by your weapon's stats and your level). From there to two-thirds modified specialization, the minimum damage you will do is increased linearly up to the 75% mark. At two-thirds modified specialization the damage variance will be 75-125% of base per swing. Past two-thirds specialization both minimum and maximum raise until at full spec your range is 100-150%. Modified specialization includes training, bonuses from items, and bonuses from realm ranks.
There is a bonus for having a bow specialization higher than your level (the maximum you can train) through items and realm rank bonuses. However, the effect seems to be 3 extra points of damage or so per specialization point over your level. The effect seems very small to me, and not worth spending the points that could be used to make a more balanced archer, but there are many archers that I respect that would strongly disagree with this sentiment. The developers have fairly bluntly said that if we could determine exactly what specializing in bow over your level does, they'd be interested in taking a look at what we came up with. Which is not to say that they don't know, but that they aren't telling and its probably complicated enough that discovering it is going to be challenging.
Raising your bow specialization also grants you higher critical shot styles:
- Critical Shot I is obtained at the third train in bow and has a draw time of 2.0 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot II is obtained at the sixth train in bow and has a draw time of 1.9 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot III is obtained at the ninth train in bow and has a draw time of 1.8 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot IV is obtained at the twelfth train in bow and has a draw time of 1.7 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot V is obtained at the fifteenth train in bow and has a draw time of 1.6 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot VI is obtained at the eighteenth train in bow and has a draw time of 1.5 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot VII is obtained at the twenty-first train in bow and has a draw time of 1.4 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot VIII is obtained at the twenty-fourth train in bow and has a draw time of 1.3 times your normal draw time.
- Critical Shot IX is obtained at the twenty-seventh train in bow and has a draw time of 1.2 times your normal draw time.
The damage multiplier for critical shot is based on your level, and is determined by the difference between your level and the targets level, indicated by the target’s con. The multiplier is a maximum of 2.0 and a minimum of 1.1. As a broad generalization which does not take the continuous curve nature of this into account, critical shots will do 2.0 times normal damage to all targets that con grey, green, blue, or yellow. They will do approximately 1.7 times normal damage to high- orange targets, 1.4 times normal damage to high-red targets, and 1.1 times normal damage to purple targets.
Please note that critical shot will work against targets that are: sitting, standing still (which includes standing in combat mode but not actively swinging at something), walking, moving backwards, strafing, or casting a spell. Critical shot will not work against targets that are: running, in active combat (swinging at something), or Mezzed. Stunned targets may be critical shot once any timers from active combat have expired if they are not yet free to act; i.e.: they may not be critical shot until their weapon delay timer has run out after their last attack, they may be critical shot during the period between the weapon delay running out and the stun wearing off, and they may not be critical shot once they have begun swinging again. If the target was in melee with an archer, the critical shot may not be drawn against them until after their weapon delay has run out or it will be interrupted. This means that the scout's shield stun is much less effective against large weapon wielders (who have longer weapon delays) than against fast piercing/thrusting weapon wielders. Also note that if the target has a shield or are being guarded by someone with a shield, and the one holding the shield is facing the archer and is in combat mode (actively swinging or not), their block rate against arrows is DOUBLED. If they are using engage against you, you’ll only get past their defences about 5% of the time.
Long shot and Volley
Long shot is a realm ability that costs 10 realm points, and is on a five minute timer. It is a single-target shot that goes from two-thirds normal maximum longbow range to one-and-a-half times normal maximum range. Then hit the Long shot icon to draw, and the normal bow icon to release. It will shoot one arrow at your targeted individual, but be aware that you can't get another shot for ten minutes.
Volley is on a one minute timer. It allows you to rapidly shoot five arrows into an area with the same range as Long shot, and ignoring line of sight (so you can shoot out of keeps). To use it you need to set your ground target at the location you want to fire at. The default key for the ground target is F5. Hold that down and then use your movement keys to send the ground target icon to the location that you want to shoot at. Hit the Volley icon to draw. At the end of the timer hit the bow icon once each time it tells you are ready to fire. Each time you hit the bow icon, one of the five arrows will be released. Each arrow will either hit a random individual in the targeted area or sail past all targets (unique miss message). According to my testing, it is indeed possible to hit the same target in an area more than once, but practically speaking you rarely hit the same target more than twice, even if it is the only target in the area.
Long shot and Volley are currently not very useful because of the timer and Bladeturn. The first arrow is nearly always blade turned, and no follow-up shot is possible before the target could get Bladeturn activated again. You also can't follow up with a normal shot because the reason to use either of these is that the target is outside normal range.
Firstly, to avoid some confusion, bows use arrows and crossbows use bolts. Arrows are long, thin shafts with a variety of heads and fletching. Bolts are much shorter and thicker, and again come with a variety of heads and fletching. You cannot use a bolt with a bow, and you cannot use an arrow with a crossbow.
Arrows and bolts are purchased from vendors in bundles of a score, and you can stack five bundles together in your packs. Your guild trainer will provide you with Rough Clout Blunt arrows for free, so you cannot buy them from merchants. You can learn to fletch your own arrows too, and the materials are roughly two-thirds the price of store-bought arrows.
When choosing which arrows to use there are several considerations to take into account. The first and largest is cost. In general you can expect to shoot 4 arrows at most targets. Since there are 20 arrows in a bundle, that means you will go through a bundle of arrows every 5 mobs in general. So, your loot per mob should be more than one-fifth of the cost of a bundle of the arrows you are using to hunt them. You will probably use less arrows per mob when solo and more when grouped, so adjust accordingly, but keep in mind that loot is divided when in a group.
The second consideration when selecting arrows is the amount of damage you wish to do and the range you wish to do it from. Typically you will only get to use one arrow at flight range, one at normal range, and the rest at close range. So by swapping around arrows when soloing, you can use a lesser damage arrow to pull and higher damage arrows at close range and minimize your costs. This technique was detailed in the "Using Your Bow: Advanced Techniques" section above. When in a group, you can pull with lesser damage arrows from maximum range to avoid getting hit and letting tanks get the mob off you faster, while using heavy hitting short range arrows to fire into the melee after the tanks have built up some agro. If you are a scout, you also want to use very light damage arrows if you are going to attempt crowd control using Engage.
The specific combination of head, fletching, and shaft affect the performance of the arrow or bolt. Arrows and bolts are named with each. For instance, the freebie arrows that primary archers can get from their trainers are Rough Clout Blunt arrows, signifying low accuracy, reduced range, and low thrusting damage.
Please note that although blunt and bodkin arrows do thrust type damage and that broad heads do slash type damage, these designations only apply to the attack-type vs. armour-type modifiers to damage. They have nothing to do with thrust or slash melee specializations that your class may be able to train in. Also note that all bows indicate that they do thrust damage when you right click them. Arrow damage types supersede bow damage types where they don't match.
Footed Flight Broad head arrows actually come in three varieties, each of a different damage type. Barbed Footed Flight Broad head arrows do thrust damage, Blunt Footed Flight Broad head arrows do crush damage, and Keen Footed Flight Broad head arrows do slash damage. All three are +25% accuracy, +25% range, and +25% damage, so you want to chose the type of FFB based on your target. Cloth armour is neutral to all three damage types. Norse Leather, Norse Studded, and Scale armours are vulnerable to slash damage. Leather, Hibernian Leather, Reinforced, and Plate armours are vulnerable to crush damage. Studded, Chain, and Norse Chain armours are vulnerable to thrust damage. You can see this information in table form here.
The ranges listed in this section already include the range modifiers based on the type of shaft, so that you don't need to go reaching for your calculator. Also, these numbers all pertains to archery shots where the target is the same elevation as the archer; if you are higher than your target then the range is extended, while if you are below your target then the range is reduced. For comparison's sake, near sight spells (range reducers) have a range of 2300 units, most bolts are 1875 units, and most DD spells about 1500 units; and elevation does not affect spell range. As another unit of measurement, the length of a human ride able horse (not the ponies Lurikeen and Kobolds ride, nor the clydsdales Firbolgs and Trolls ride) is about 125 units. The units used are the same as the coordinates given by the /loc command.
Armsmen and infiltrators can use crossbows, while mercenaries, blademasters, heroes, and wardens can use shortbows. All shortbows and crossbows have the same range: 1020 units with clout arrows, 1200 units with normal arrows, and 1500 units with flight arrows. These figures all do the range bonuses or penalties mentioned in the "Arrows" section for you.
Primary archer bows fall into three categories:
- light bows that no one gets range bonuses for which have about 4.0 second draw times,
- medium bows that only rangers get range bonuses for which have about 4.7 second draw times, and
- heavy bows that only scouts get range bonuses for which have about 5.4 second draw times.
Note that the heavier the bow, the longer its draw time, but the more damage it will do per successful hit.
Base bow range is 1360 units with clout arrows, 1600 units with normal arrows, and 2000 units with flight arrows. Rangers using medium bows have a range of 1428 units with clout arrows, 1680 units with normal arrows, and 2100 units with flight arrows. Scouts using heavy bows have a range of 1496 units with clout arrows, 1760 units with normal arrows, and 2200 units with flight arrows.
Note that all dropped bows are listed as being the same type of weapon as the archery skill, but may be light, medium, or heavy bows. There is no way to use delve to find out which bows are which category; I've alerted the appropriate devs to that fact, perhaps this will get added when they have a spare 5 minutes.
Here's the list of dropped and quest bows in each of the categories, by realm. They are listed here so that you have some idea of what exists, but keep in mind that player crafted bows consistently out-damage dropped bows, even those with bonuses to bow skill (unless your bow skill is less than two-thirds of your level).
Bwgan's Hunting Bow
Light Hunter's Bow
Bow of the Decaying Legions
Ancient Mithiran Bow
Ancient Oak Bow
Silver Oak Longbow
Carved Keltoi Bow
Hunter's Great Bow
Goblin Archer Long Bow
Golden Oak Bow
Worn Asterite Shod Bow
Bow of the Forest Lord
Fine Asterite Shod Bow
Fallen Archer's Great Bow
Runed Bow of Ill Omen
Bow of Doom