Scouts in Dark Age of Camelot
When hunting solo, Scouts often perform the duties of a forester, using stealth to get in good position to shoot their prey, and then their bow skills to severely wound it. If the arrows donít strike true, they are able to dispatch the wounded beast with their sword.
When hunting with a group, Scouts serve as an advance scout, and bait for ambushes. After finding their prey, the scout helps in the fight either by standing back with the healers and casters and shooting arrows though the melee, or by entering melee with agile, directed blows from their sword. Very often they are assigned the duties of protecting the healers and casters should their prey turn from the main battle line and charge the supporting divisions.
In the wars, Scouts use all these skills practiced in peacetime to perform as advanced scouts for the army. Their role is to locate the enemy while remaining undetected, accurately report back to their commanders the size, composition, command-and-control structures, and artillery (siege engines and magic) of the enemy, and cause what disruption they can. Many scouts group with infiltrators and minstrels to form stealthy scouting groups that hunt enemy stealth groups. They are expected to participate in large battles by reducing enemy numbers with massed archery, disrupting magical and mundane artillery, and defending Albion's support classes.
Being a good scout involves player knowledge: when to use bow, when to use melee, how fast you can pull, how to pull without building up lots of agro, where to take your group for the best exp, which mobs are linked, which mobs will BAF all over you, etc. The scout (any rogue really) is NOT for someone who wants to have an easy game. It requires nearly constant alertness all around you, money management skills, and brain activity from the moment you enter the game until you arrive back at the character select screen. It is a fun, but challenging class to play, and brings rewards all its own because a successful scout is all about being a good player, not a button-clicker.
Strengths of the Scout
1) The longbow has the single greatest range of any damage attack in the
game (the nearsight range debuff has a longer range. We can also use faster
hunter's bows and bows, but with reduced damage per hit and less range, when
fast shots are more important than one-hit damage. Bows are our primary
attack, and are useful not only from range, but any time the scout is not in
2) While scoutsí melee combat skills are not as good as that of the fighter class and its guilds, we are proficient enough to be able to hold our own for short periods of time. This is useful in solo hunting and when fighting in cramped quarters.
3) Scouts are trained as light infantry, concentrating on avoiding attacks, either through dodging or blocking with a shield. We can also use our shield to guard others, bash our opponents, or go into a purely defensive mode where we keep our opponent's attention on us without taking much damage. This is one of the ways that we are useful to groups - extra protection for other party members.
4) Stealthy movement is essential when hunting; be it game for the table, renegade monsters, or enemy forces. Assassins are more highly trained in stealth as they live or die by it, but scouts still very effective at moving unseen around the battlefield.
5) Scouts have one fewer specialization line than the other archers, so we tend to be more highly trained in archery and stealth than our counterparts from the other realms.
Weaknesses of the Scout
1) Rangers do equivalent damage with equivalent bows, with less range, before their damage-add buff is taken into consideration. They can do more damage with their bows when the damage-add is running. Scouts do more damage with archery than hunters though.
2) Melee training is not as in depth as for the rest of the military, due
to the time required to practice with longbows. So you will find that
arms men, mercenaries, and paladins do significantly more damage with their
weapons, and have greater health because of their training. This applies to
the warriors of other realms as well. Scouts are also more defensively and
group oriented than other archers, but do less damage in melee as a trade
off for their greater protective abilities.
3) Scouts are restricted to using padded, leather, or studded leather type armours because of their bow. While this armour is flexible and unencumbering, it doesnít have the sheer protective value of the heavier armours available.
4) Scouts usually come from peasant stock, and, while hardy, they cannot match the ability to shrug off pain and wounds of those trained to warfare from birth.
5) Scouts prefer roving hunts through areas not often hunted by others. This heightens the natural perception of the effective scout, but also leads to longer times between fights. This is somewhat countered by gaining more experience from each combat in these roving hunts.
6) Scouts, with their chosen hunting patterns, are often alone in hostile territory, even when scouting around for prey for a group. Scouts are exposed to higher danger as they find prey, and often have angry creatures attempting to kill them while being led to the ambush site. Many creatures bring friends with them to the ambush and they must be dealt with before they decide to attack the healers and casters. Healers are reluctant to heal us on incoming, because of that calls attention to themselves. This decreases the lifespan of the average scout significantly, which leads to constitution restoration donations to the church eating up significant amounts of loot.
7) Scouts must buy arrows, at a significant cost, in order to be effective against their foes. No other class must pay for each use of their weapon. This also ties them down to their supply lines more than any other class. Most scouts spend any free time they have making their own arrows, to help reduce this cost, especially those who fire into melee combat.
8) A sufficient supply of arrows for a hunting trip with a group weighs enough to make anyone consider hiring a porter. Unfortunately, those porters willing to go on such dangerous trips are rare, and often assigned to the Lord of the area for carrying his wine and feasts around. So, scouts often have to make do with periodic runs to merchants who sell arrows.
9) Elementalists and other ranged classes are able to cause significantly more damage at slightly shorter ranges as a good longbowman, and offer more utility for groups. Of course, the best longbowmen are able to extend their range with the longshot and volley realm abilities, described in the Archery Guide. However, it can be difficult for scouts to find welcome in groups that are hunting monsters or enemy realm parties.
10) Being a good scout is very challenging, and is not for those seeking fast leveling, groups at the drop of a hat, or easy play. I don't really recommend them as a first character, as there is a lot to keep track of. However, if you are looking for a challenge, the satisfaction of being known as a good scout is high reward indeed.
Scout Races and Starting Stats
Dexterity and quickness are of primary importance to a scout, followed closely by strength. Constitution, with its increase in health, is also considered important, although not a primary requirement for being accepted into the Defenders of Albion as a scout. As a scout, you never want your starting strength to be less than 50 because of encumbrance issues later on. In fact, I recommend 60 or 70 points of strength. Strength is also a factor in how hard you hit with slash weapons and shield bashes. Strength and Dexterity are both factors in determining how hard you hit with thrusting weapons. Dexterity is a factor in how hard you hit with your bow and also factors into your success or failure at evading enemies and blocking with your shield. Quickness has a direct effect on melee attack speed and the draw times for normal and critical shots with your longbow. Please note that having a high quickness will not lower your unstyled melee or archery damage, but will lower style bonus damage and damage from damage adds to maintain the same damage per second rating. A higher constitution increases the chances for getting a higher increase to health each time you level, though it doesn't seem to have a direct effect on starting health. Note that starting at 6th level, your dexterity will increase by one point every level, your quickness one point every other level, and your strength one point every three levels.
Scouts may be Saracens, Britons, Highlanders, or Iconnu.
Saracens excel as scouts with their naturally high dexterity that increases longbow damage and shield blocking rates, but suffer from a lack of strength and constitution, and are best at thrusting weapons. These scouts tend to follow the difficult path of a realm scout or sniper. They tend to not get as much benefit from the higher dexterity at the highest levels though, reaching their cap easily. I recommend that Saracens put 10 points into each strength, constitution, and quickness at character creation.
Britons are good all around and are equally good at archery and melee with either a slashing or thrusting sword. They are evenly balanced throughout their career, and come just shy of hitting their caps at the highest levels. These scouts can become snipers or the more prevalent longbowmen. I recommend that Britons put 10 points into each strength, dexterity, and quickness at character creation.
Highlanders are particularly strong and healthy, but are less dexterous and quick. This makes them more suited to a scout that relies on slashing damage. Their archery will not be as strong as Saracens, but their survivability is greater for those that solo, and they contribute more melee damage to groups, forming the quintessential longbowmen. I recommend that Highlanders put 10 points into dexterity and 20 points into quickness (resulting in +15 to quickness), or visa versa, at character creation.
Iconnu have the benefit of being the smallest Albion race, and size does matter when you are hiding from your enemies. However, they have weak strength and quickness, with better dexterity, so they have good bow damage, shield block rates, and are better at thrusting swords. They seem to be a good compromise between Saracen scouts and Briton scouts. I recommend that Iconnu put 10 points into strength and 20 points into quickness (resulting in +15 to quickness), or visa versa, at character creation.
Planning Your Career
You will always wear leather or studded leather armors, and rely on your knowledge of the terrain and creatures about to see you through safely, while leading your foes into ambush after ambush. You rely upon your bow to do significant damage to your foes from afar, but expect to need to use melee skills to finish them off.
Wizards and Theurgists will be able to outdamage you consistently at range, and your heavily armored brothers in the Defenders of Albion will be able to do more damage consistently at melee. However, the casters are not able to readily survive ambushes or if their opponent closes to melee range, and your heavily armored brothers cannot attack well at range. You fill a niche that supports both well, and rounds out the skills of your party.
Scouts are good soloers if you spec to at least half in melee and shield for the first few levels, and keep your equipment high quality. They are excellent at RvR if you keep your bow spec maxed and your stealth spec mostly maxed. They are decent in groups if you keep your bow skill nearly maxed, your melee decent, and your shield skill around two-thirds spec. You can be good at all of these, but it takes careful planning and forethought, and knowing that you will never be the best at everything.
I've leveled up more scouts than I care to remember, and this seems to be
the most painless way of leveling through the beginning levels. It focuses
on raising bow quickly to get higher levels of critical shot, but also
balances out with keeping good melee and shields skills, and gaining special
abilities in them quickly. You will notice that stealth is largely ignored
until level 20, as it doesn't do as much for you at the beginning levels as
melee and shield spec will. Many will argue that a scout should have more
stealth before they go to visit the battlegrounds, but I find having higher
stealth for the battlegrounds makes leveling much more painful.
This track is well suited to the longbowman track (a.k.a.: the balanced scout or melee scout) rather than the realm scout (a.k.a.: the sniper scout). It is suited to those looking for longbow at 39+, melee at 29+, shield at 35 or 42, and stealth at 20+. There are many templates that fit within this track, you can play with the different possiblities with the Character Builder at DAoC Catacombs.
Starting As a Rogue
One of the first things to do upon embarking upon your career is to find your rogue trainer. Talk to this individual, and then follow his directions -- that is, go out into the world and hunt. You want to start your training by hunting those mobs that con blue to you. That is, their name appears in blue in the combat status box. For the duration of your time as a rogue, I would suggest fighting only blue- or green-con mobs, with more focus upon the green-con mobs to earn as much cash as you can.
Upon attaining second level, return to your trainer and you can begin specializing in several skills. Note that your skills in all areas will advance to be level appropriate, and specialization enhances certain skills. Saving your skill points is possible also, though I usually put the specialization points for attaining levels two and four into stealth. At level 3 you should decide if you would rather use thrusting weapons or slashing weapons and train in that skill. Do be aware that you are not primarily a warrior, so you can only specialize in your melee skills at the odd levels, and you are limited to a specialization level of half of your level, rounded up. You should also pay attention to the requests that your trainer has for you. Those tasks are easy, but will give you a good feel for the lay of the land and the policies of the Defenders.
I also recommend not buying a weapon at first, instead concentrate on purchasing or finding armor while you use your training dagger. Tattered leather armor drops off puny skeletons and sprigarrans, which are surprisingly abundant this close to civilization. You can also purchase leather armor from the merchants or crafters, but I don't recommend it at this level. Upon attaining third level, you should probably go talk to the stonemason in the village, and find what he needs to build you a flint weapon. This weapon is excellent for use until you are quite a bit older, by which time you should have all of your armor and have enough cash to purchase a rapier or longsword.
It is also highly recommended that you talk to all of the people in the villages around you, as quite a few have tasks that you can complete now, or in the future. Be sure to ask the named guards if they have tasks for you, where you can gain experience hunting as well as learning the lay of the land. Become acquainted with the layout of the towns, and look for shortcuts overland between villages. There are lots of landmarks, and cutting overland is usually much faster, if not quite as safe, as following the roads. As a future scout, you are expected to be familiar with the shortcuts between places, so begin looking for those shortcuts now.
Once you attain your fifth level, your rogue trainer will have taught you all he knows. Go find him one last time, and follow his directions to find the scout recruiter and trainer. It is this individual who will train you in the use of the famed Briton longbow, and continue your training in stealth, climbing, slashing weapons, and thrusting weapons.
I also recommend that after getting some starting capital, you go find Acey Dalston in the arrow shop near the Guild of Shadows in Camelot city, and begin to practice fletching. Fletching your own arrows can save you one-third of the price of arrows. You will not be asked to make arrows for consignments, but a starting capital of 15 gold will easily allow you to power skill to 485 Fletching, when you can make all arrows, and then make some studded leather armor to bring up your other secondary skills necessary to get consignments to make bows, crossbows, staves, quarterstaves, and musical instruments. This is actually the fastest way to skill up in fletching.
Your Role in a Group
Your primary role in a group is as the puller and safety net for the low health casters, and to keep agro away from the clerics. There are several tips that will help you in that role.
1) Make a macro in your hotbar for pulling so that your group knows what you are bringing back. My personal favorite is "/macro inc /g There's a %t incoming. Prepare for battle." After you target the mob, and draw your shot, use this macro so that the others in your group are ready for you to get back.
2) On a related noted, don't pull named mobs without making sure that your party is ready for them... they tend to be harder than the unnamed mobs around them.
3) Your job as a puller is to keep the flow of mobs coming just as fast as the group can handle them, without pulling them so fast that group members start dying. Use the mini-group window to keep track of your tanks health (the red bar), and your healers and casters power (the white dot). NEVER pull when your healers don't have a bright dot. However, if the group is working together well, you may find yourself running off to find another mob to get ready to pull before the current mob is dead... do make sure that the current mob is pushing up daisies before you bring another though.
4) If you find yourself being hit by a fast moving mob while you are bringing it back to the group, don't expect the cleric to heal you right away or the mob will be beating on them beyond the ability of a tank to pull it off you. Instead, pull out your shield and Engage the mob while the groups tanks get if off you. In the event that you die while attempting this, thank the cleric for the rez and keep in mind that your death is better than the total party wipe out that would probably have resulted if the cleric got agro instead.
5) So that tanks can get the mobs off you faster, you probably want to pull using rough flight blunt arrows (long range, low accuracy, low damage) as even a miss will pull a mob, but its easier for the groups fighters to get the mob off you the less damage you do. Some scouts even advocate using the weakest bows, rowan, to pull for a group so that you have done very little damage to the mob. I personally prefer using a level appropriate bow so that I can pull and Engage any friendly mobs that decided to come along with the initially targeted mob, and have some measure of agro built up so the cleric's heals don't pull it away so quickly.
6) Along the same lines, don't pull with a critical shot when a group is backing you up. When soloing, always pull with a critical shot so you can do as much damage from range before needing to melee.
7) Put Guard on the main tank and switch to melee when the mob gets to the group. With a high level of shield and Guard 3, you will block one or two attacks against them that would have otherwise hit them. Of course, if the main tanks are guarding each other, you may want to volunteer to guard the healer or one of the nukers. In that case, remember to stand near them after the mob is pulled off you and shoot the mob full of arrows during the battle.
8) If someone in your group is mezzing adds, DON'T attack that mob. With quickcast they can usually land a mez even if the mob has started beating on them. Of course, you probably want to put guard on the mezzer and stand beside them so that if they say they need help, you are there to hit the mob once, get agro, go into engage so you stop hitting it (and don't build up lots of agro yourself), and let them mez it once its no longer hitting them.
And above all else, learn the terrain, the safe spots around camps, and the paths of wandering mobs are for the area you are going to hunt. I took the time to sit in stealth at different spots in new zones before I began hunting so that I could learn all this, and the safe escape routes as well for when things go wrong. When you are pulling you need to know how much health the fighters have, how much power the casters and healers have, where all mobs in the area are and where they're heading, how many mobs are likely to come on a pull (if they are likely to bring a friend) and what their call for help range is. Being a good puller is a hard job, but one that we are ideally suited to. Groups may not value what you do until the end of the night, when they realize that they just got more experience than they ever did at that spot before.
Archery is discussed in detail in the Archery Guide, so it suffices to say here that using your longbow is your primary skill, and all other skills serve to support your devotion to it. This skill should be kept as fully specialized as you can; at a minimum, keep it at two-thirds of your level rounded up. Use any extra skill points to specialize in your other skills. This is the only skill that autotrains for scouts, but personally I feel that the pain of leveling with this at less than one-quarter of your level is not worth the few extra spec points.
Train in the use of the longbow until you are familiar with its range, and its damage capabilities. Practice shots from the walls of keeps, from behind the cover of bushes, and uphill. Learn the timing, the flow of drawing, nocking, aiming, and loosing arrow after arrow until you can do it effortlessly and without conscious thought. Train also with other scouts to follow the directions of your commander, so that you can coordinate your fire when with other scouts and do incredible amounts of damage to your opponents. Practice all this on the animals and monsters of the realm, so that you can slay the beasts from Midgard and Hibernia intent upon the slaughter of our families and livestock.
Also train in being able to swap stacks of arrows when you reach 8th level or so, and want to start using store-bought or fletched arrows rather than the freebies the scout trainers will pass out. This will let you use flight arrows for maximum range, but cheaper arrows when the mob is close and you don't need that range.
The first special archery ability you gain is Critical Shot I when you have specialized in longbow three times. Thereafter, at every three additional levels of specialization in longbow, you receive an upgrade to your Critical Shot skill which reduces the aiming time, and increases the damage of this spectacular strike. This shot, although it takes longer to set up and is only effective against targets which are not charging, does intense damage as you place the arrow precisely in the most vulnerable parts of your foe. Note that against those enemy invaders that don't think to start running as soon as they get hit, you can shoot several critical shots in a row.
Scouts can use four of the eight types of ranged weapons in Albion. We cannot use any variety of shortbow or crossbow, but wouldn't really want to due to their lesser damage and decreased range. The four we can use are hunter's bows, bows, longbows, and heavy longbows. All four use the longbow specialization to determine effectiveness and have the same damage per second rating, but differ in their draw times. The hunter's bows have the shortest draw times, and hence the lowest damage per hit which means these bows ideally suited to interrupting casters or enemy archers, but also have decreased range. The bow has a medium draw time and medium damage and would make a great all around weapon except its decreased range. The longbow and heavy longbow have the longest draw time, with the heavy longbow a tenth of a second longer, but do the most damage per hit, making them ideally suited to sniper type attacks. The longbow and heavy longbow are the only ones of these three to have increased range. The hunter's bow and bow both have the same range as the Midgardian bows and two of the Hibernian bows.
Again, all of these are discussed in detail in the Archery Guide.
Slashing and Thrusting Weapons
It is suggested that you focus on keeping either one of these maximized by receiving specialized training in it every odd level, if not more often. You may fully specialize in a melee weapon, though I don't recommend it. Specialization in melee skills will close the range of damage you inflict toward the higher end, and decreasing the number of low damage hits is vital for the survival of the scout in the field. Keep in mind that almost all of your combats will involve melee as well as archery when deciding what specialized training to get.
As you train in your melee skills, you will learn advanced techniques, but usually not as quickly as armsmen, paladins, and mercenaries who specialize in close combat as our combat specialty is the longbow. These special combat styles have varying effects, and the choice of slashing specialization or thrust specialization can be made based on the scout's preference for what styles to get. Remember that strength is a damage modifier to slashing melee attacks while both strength and dexterity are modifiers for thrusting melee attacks. Please also note that these skills have nothing to do with arrow attacks despite blunt and bodkin arrows being listed as thrust damage and broadheads being listed as slash damage for the sake of attack-type vs armor-type damage modifiers; so do not consider this when trying to determine which type of melee weapons to focus on.
It is possible to use a staff instead of a sword. Like all Albanians, we receive basic training in the peasant's weapon as a youngling, but the military does not train us in more advanced use of this weapon. That training is reserved for the friars in the Church who use the quarterstaff to defend themselves on their journeys.
Scouts may opt to receive advanced training in their small round shields, learning ways to use the shield to bash opponents and stun them momentarily during melee. It is possible to fully specialize in shield, but most choose to specialize to 42 for slam.
Guard: Guard 1 is gained at 5 levels of specialization and using it allows us to defend another character who is not actively in combat (they don't have autoattack on) if you are in close proximity to them by using your shield to block attacks aimed at either one of you. That makes it a useful skill to use on either the group's primary tank, a healer, or a caster, and is one of the major reasons groups will want a scout. We learn Guard 2 at 10 levels of specialization and Guard 3 at 15 levels of specialization, which increase the rate we block attacks against others.
Engage: Shield users also have an Engage skill that is obtained at 7 levels of shield specialization which only works in PvE. You must have the mob's attention in order for Engage to do any good, but with it you will block almost all of the time. The trade off is that you may not attack while thus concentrating on keeping the mob busy and blocking all its attacks. This is a crowd control ability, and is good to use when your initial target decides to bring a friend. You can put an arrow into the friend and then use Engage to keep it out of the rest of the battle while the rest of your party takes out your initial target. Note that you want to use a normal arrow shot to get its attention also, or you might have angered it so much that it powers past your guard for the first few attacks.
Shield Types: The type of shield being used determines the delay of the attack and the damage done. So a small shield is very fast to attack but does not do nearly as much damage as the slow heater shield. Note that scouts can only use small shields, but this is an important distinction between us and the heavy line fighters. But sometimes (like RvR) it's nice to have the quick shield to get in a stun when it's really needed. Also note that the shield size determines the number of attackers that can be blocked at the same time.
Blocking Arrows: You can use your shield to block arrows to. You need to be in combat mode and facing the archer, but don't have to be stationary. For increased chances, have the archer targeted and hit Engage. Note that you can't do anything other than defend yourself and move when trying to Engage, and that includes guarding others or conning others.
Strategy: If you're in a fight that's going sour and you want to get away, do a shield stun, and then run straight through them (so you don't waste time doing a turn). Usually this allows you to get enough distance that eventually your opponent will give up the chase as long as you're not slowed down and it isn't normally faster than you. This can also be used with a long duration stun to allow you to set up an arrow shot at your target, though it doesn't always work. Oh, and always run from place to place with your shield out. Not only does it prevent other from knowing at a glance that you are a scout, but it also gives you a chance to block the first shot at you from an enemy archer or assassin.
Stealth is discussed in detail in the Stealth Guide. In the home realms, stealth is mostly useful for keeping creatures from noticing you as you heal up after fights. It does have some usefulness for getting closer to mobs without attracting their attention while attempting to line up a shot, but this seems to be of very limited use against creatures. Against the raiders from the other realms, this skill is highly useful.
It is no longer possible to draw and fire an arrow while hidden, as there is a chance you come out of stealth-mode when you nock an arrow, and you always do when you loose it; details on this can be found inthe Stealth Guide. However, the creatures in the area won't attack you unless they are close enough and usually would agro on you. Once you shoot, the creature you shot at will know where you are and most likely will point you out to any friends. Note that your movement speed is very low while being stealthy, so if you need to run, just drop out of stealth mode and go for it. It is also impossible to fight stealthily, so make sure that other creatures aren't close enough to come running when they see you attacking one of their own.
The counter to stealth is Detect Hidden. It allows us to spot those moving stealthily through our frontiers, scouting out invasion routes. The assassin classes get this skill, not other archers, but we do get the normal chances to detect hidden characters that all characters have. There are also an assassin-only realm ability, See Hidden, that will allow assassins to detect archers and minstrels at the limits of their normal vision. This can only be countered by Camouflage, and ability archers get at level 30, which blocks See Hidden from working, but can only be entered 10 minutes after your last aggressive action. Further details are in the Stealth Guide.
Scouts can make use of many of the quests in Albion, including the many for armor and weapons that begin in Black Mountains South and Camelot Hills. Be sure to take the time to talk to those living in the villages and castles as you go up in levels. Don't neglect to talk to the guards either. There is, in particular, a minstrel in Cotswald that you will want to talk to. Quests are constantly changing though, so there is no guide providing the particular quests you will want to do.
There is a strong community of fellow archers at CritShot-The Archer's Mark who are always willing to swap stories and offer advice. Please feel free to come join us there.
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