x Primeval/Trickster/StoneArrow + Hidden Combat Mechanics “101.”

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This guide will explain 3 popular Archer builds 
(Primeval, Stone Arrow, Trickster) 
as well as Acheage’s “hidden”combat mechanics 
you may not know about.

Note: This guide uses builds based on group pvp. 5v5, mass scale, ect. For 1v1 Arena there are burst specs that work a bit different. Ill try to cover some of those as well.
The very first thing to cover is Archery and the sub-classes that best compliment it. Archery requires no less than 11 points to be effective. The reasoning behind this is the last passive requires 10 points spend (15% damage), which means 11 to take it. Your basic Archery build should look something like this:
Note: Snare and Concussive Shot are interchangeable depending on the class you are running. For Primevil I never take concussive shot. The cast time is huge, and in 5v5 arena or group pvp stopping to cast means certain death. You are an archer, other classes love to complain about how we can move and shoot, its an advantage, so always try to keep it. Never stop, unless its absolutely necessary or your build calls for it, aka “Trickster.”
Shadowplay- This is the subclass that best supports Archery in build 1.2. In 1.7 you can change it up a bit to things like “Arcane Hunter” which become very effective. Until then this will be your bread and better, what you choose as your 3rd sub class after Archery + Shadowplay is your choice, the 3 popular are listed below. Hunters Mark and Toxic shot are important for dps and your Overwhelm trip combo. Shadowstep/Dropback are important for the hidden mechanics they bring that I will explain later in the guide. Freerunner is a skill that goes without saying why we take it. Combined with intensity you will spit hot fire like Dylon.
                                   Archery Skills

Float- In 1.2 its pretty good for dungeons, bad for pvp. In 1.7 things change and you will be able to cast bonewall, float, and actually get line of sight. As of now if you try this combo, you can not shoot at the person inside bonewall as you will have no LoS. Also, you literally just walk behind someone floating and unless they cancel it, they cant hit you.
Bone Wall- It has its place. This like the defensive skill version can create a lot of frustration if used incorrectly. However that being said, this spell has a 20m range on it. The defensive version is PBAE. This means you can effectively create separation between the enemy and teammates in key moments. The catch is, if you mess up you will be noticed. To break out of Bone Wall you need to tap “F” twice. Once someone F’s just 1 time it will create a gap you can shoot them through, which means if they are trying to break out to get and close distance, you can snare immediately through the gap.
Deadeye- In 1v1 Arena, the dropback, deadeye, concussive shot combo can deliver an incredible amount of damage. It has its place, just not in group pvp. This requires you to stand still, so anything other than 1v1 or pve i would advise against.
Intensity- This gives much needed Fear immunity and builds crit over time. It does NOT give all the crit up front, about 5 seconds before the buff ends you will be at max crit. Understanding that and timing your rotation for max crit is key.
Concussive Shot- Archery big hit, with cast time before 1.7 “Snipe” is available. This is the skill that gets more archer’s killed in 5v5/group pvp more than any skill you have. Casting this at the wrong time or on the wrong person is a death sentence. There are also a few things to note about this skill:
  1. This skill is NOT based on Ranged weapon damage for its extra bonus %. Its based on “Magic” damage. Which means staff/scepter raise the damage. That said it should still be around the 2500-3k mark as listed damage. DO NOT GO PICK UP A STAFF FOR PVP BIG HITS. For PVE, trickster with staff, this skill and witchcraft can do some nice things for you, notably the Enervate/Grasping hands heal combo. For PvP this is not the case. DONT DO IT. Ill explain more about weapons later in the guide.
  2. This skill also has a debuff attached to it that 99% of the Archage player base doesnt even know exists. What if I told you this debuff is one of the best in the game? SHACKLE Is the best debuff you can use against a physical damage class. Sounds like a root, but in reality its a DISARM. Now what If I told you that all 3 Primary top tier archer builds have access to TWO abilities with shackle and they both STACK for 9 seconds of Disarm. Remember, there is a time and place for concussive shot, used correctly you can peal off that Darkrunner that would normally obliterate your teammate in seconds, and watch as he flounders around wondering why he cant attack. It can win group engagements if used effectively.
Note: The other skill that has Shackle attached to it, is *Shadowsmite* in the Shadowplay tree. Most people look at Shadowsmite and say, “There is my WoW backstab!” Incorrect thinking, unless you happen to be a darkrunner, then yes its your “WoW” backstab. As an Archer I do not pick up Shadowsmite for the damage. The damage is nice if you happen to be behind the target, however I use this as debuff first and foremost. I do not care if I hit you in front with shadowsmite as an archer as I am still getting the effect I want, you disarmed so i can gain distance and damage combo. This skill will wreck another stealther in a “stealth” confrontation if used as an opener for the disarm. Also understand what skills fall under “Magic” and which fall under “Ability” category. Even though you disarm someone with shackle, they may have magic based spells that can still be used.*
Snare- This skill is taken in the primevil build because it cures “shackle” and is a Root. Remember that “Snare” in archeage is actually a Root. Dont get that confused. Unlike “grasping hands” in Witchcraft this skill DOES NOT BREAK ON DAMAGE. This is a free PBAE root that cures shackle and lowers enemies damage by 20%. In the clutch it can save your ass. Do not underestimate this ability. Once you know what the shackle debuff looks like and you are hit with it more and more, you will love this skill.

Builds:

                                        Primeval 

Weapons: Bow + Dagger/Dagger
This build pretty much explains itself in the parts written above. Very basic and staple Primevil build. I will coverThwart and why its important in the “hidden mechanics” section of this guide. To those thinking, “NO SHADOWSTEP WITH SHADOWSMITE WTF!” That is explained above. Shadowsmite is used for the debuff, not the damage, where you hit them with it will not be important, it will apply shackle regardless.
                                         Trickster

Weapons: Bow + Dagger/Dagger or Bow + Dagger/Shield
Note that Snare is dropped for Concussive shot in this build. For Trickster Concussive shot is needed for ranged peeling and locking down targets. Timing is everything. When I play 5’s against my Darkrunner friend, I will go out of my way to wait until I see him open. Even If it means watching the other 4 people on each team fight for a while. Note who is the primary Damage dealer on the enemy team, I know my darkrunner friend will burst me down ASAP when i appear, so the key it to make him appear first or position yourself so well he has to break stealth to close the gap in time to get things done. This is a skill that is practiced and learned over time, positioning is everything. When I play trickster in 5v5 arena I play the “lava” game. I try to never touch the ground, always staying above on boxes or the bridge. The goal is to peel, and CC as a trickster. You have the tools to shut down any class in the game.
Shackle + Purge = Silence. a.k.a “The Blanket Silence
note: This means No magic or physical based abilities. Literally can NOT click a single skill.
Please note purge has a 20m cast range.
Understand what this equation means, and you will know why I have included shadowstep and shadowsmite in this build instead of more witchcraft spells. First glance a lot of you will say, NO BUBBLE! NO HANDS! NO ENERVATE! NO FOCAL CONCUSSION OR WAVE WTF!?
Shadowstep + Shadowsmite + Purge = Blanket Silence for 5.5 seconds.
Concussive Shot + Purge = Blanket Silence for 4.5 seconds. Magic will be silenced a tad bit longer.
note: In 1.7 Shackle appears to getting removed from Concussive shot for a “snare.” The translations are not good yet. Use it while you can!
Stacking Shackle – Shackle will stack but its not like WoW where it stacks on the buff and resets the timer and will have a little “2” in the corner. Instead another shackle debuff icon will appear with its OWN timer. Which means to stack effectively you do not spam it 1 after the other. Instead you cast Concussive arrow, wait 4.5 seconds, shadowstep + shadowsmite and apply another 5.5 second shackle. Timing this will be key to locking down that big shot Physical DPS that wrecks everyone in arena. This will shut him down and if he is bad, he wont even understand what is happening.
You have 3 basic openers for trickster. Knowing When to apply hunters mark and when not to is key for this class.
Long range: Hunters Mark + Concussive Shot + Purge + Charged shot + Toxic shot + Piercing shot followed by a volley of Endless arrows if they are still alive. Most people will not live this rotation, and look really stupid while doing it. The only real thing to do when hit by this combo upfront is to disengage. If they engage be prepared to laugh as they run around in circles slamming their forehead against their keyboard trying to use any skill they can.
Medium Range: Lassitude + Hunters Mark. Understand that Lassitude has a 10m range and takes 3 seconds to drain “mettle” (defensive tree mechanic) before it silences. You use this time to pre-apply hunters mark before the sleep hits. Follow up into a dropback to gain distance followed by concussive + purge.
Close Range: Banshee Wail + Lassitude followed by dropback into your combo’s. Knowing when to shadowstep in to shadowsmite/banshee wail the enemy can be key to winning a team fight as a trickster. Timing and targeting priority are everything to a trickster. You control the tempo and can be the reason someone lives or dies.
Use shadowstep as a ghetto “Teleport”. My primevil friends cant fathom Stone Arrow/Trickster because the loss of Teleport is to much for them to bare. The Teleport + Backdrop combo can either gain massive distance or close gaps fast. However Shadowstep can be used on allies, and yourself. If you cast it on yourself you will gain the runspeed and be set back a pixel or two. This skill has a 50% chance not to go on cooldown as well. So chain it to allies to get away in style. This spell also has a special “hidden mechanic” as well which I will cover later. If you dont have teleport you will want to try to find a way to fit this into your build somewhere.
Note: Shadowstep is very funky the way the ability and camera interact. If the person you are shadow stepping to is facing you, and you want to land that shadowsmite “backstab,” before you cast it, Jump turn 180 degrees in the air (you will be facing away from the person now) and cast shadowstep. You will now be facing their back instead of away from them when you land. It takes a bit to get used to, but if you use the same method for Dropback as a ghetto teleport(and you should) then this will come easy for you. Also dont hold down “W” while doing this or you will run through the target when you land, this is something that took a bit a practice for me to get down.
A trickster should also rarely lose a stealth confrontation. With Sleep/Fear immunity you are immune to leach and lassitude, both openers which classes like darkrunner/shadowblazdes spam while in stealth. Shadowsmite + Purge will always win a stealth confrontation no matter what if you have your Sleep/Fear buff on, which by the way has a 9 sec cooldown and lasts 1 minute. No reason to NOT have this up every time you re-apply stealth. Make it a habit. Cast it on teammates as well.
                                      Stone Arrow

Note: Lately I have been Subbing Snare for the “evasion” passive in archery. Having 55% block with redoubt + block passive along with 20% evasion and 6% parry go a long way in mitigating damage. Without a lot of “focus” you will not get hit. I have watched my darkrunner friend miss 10 swings in a row when dueling. Its something to consider.
Weapons: Bow + 1 hand sword / Shield
No imprison or invulnerability. Dont need them. What you need is a 1 hand sword, a shield, and lots of agility. Stone arrows that stack str are not doing it right. Your not melee. Dont try to be. You are an archer and your damage comes from bow, not sword/shield. 2 abilities in that entire build use melee damage as its base %,** Overwhelm** and Bull rush. Go ahead and waste time trying to get those up with str. Not worth it. Stack agility.
Stone arrows like trickster have a “blanket Silence.” Can you find it?
Shadowstep + Shadowsmite + Bull rush is the exact same thing as trickster shackle + purge, except you dont have the luxury of being at range. You will have to be up close and personal, but you have a shield, and redoubt so thats fine.
The opening for this class is standard bow opening. In the middle/end/beginning throw in your Shadowstep + Shadowsmite + Bull Rush and win. Again, if confronted up close I always open with the Shadowsmite + Bull Rush combo to shut the enemy down and gain distance or continue to shut them down with a Hunters Mark + Overwhelm for a trip. Thats over 10 seconds of someone not being able to hit a single key.
In a stealth confrontation the faster you hit them with Bullrush the faster you dont get slept. Immediatly follow up with shadowsmite to prevent Overwhelm/charge/tripplestrike combos.
                                    Weapon Passives:

Every Weapon in Archeage has a hidden passive.
Daggers = 20% attack speed boost proc
Sword = Parry proc
Spears = Ignore defense
Katana/Nodochi = Crit
Bow = Poison dot
Staff = mana heal
Hammer/mace = stun
Axes = bleed
Archeage Hidden mechanics:

Attack speed – In most games attack speed is pretty easy to understand. In Archeage it does a lot of behind the scenes stuff to your abilities. The main things it does beside obviously increasing attack speed are:
  1. Increases Attack animation speed.
  2. Decreases global cooldown.
Both of these are huge for archer’s. This means that the more attack speed you have the faster you can go through your rotation. In games like WoW you are hindered by the global cooldown, in archeage you can decrease this to almost instant back to back casts never waiting on the global cooldown. This turns endless arrows into god mode.
This is why you choose daggers + thwart and the passive that allows you to stack thwart 3 times.
Dagger = 20% atk speed
Thwart x3 = 24% atk speed
Swiftness proc from GHA leather 7 set gear = 50% atk speed + 100agility.
Freerunner = 200+ more agility.
Intensity = crit rate increase to at least 60%.
Looking at that if all of them proc, and they do, and you use your big cooldowns, you will stand to do a metric shit ton of damage very very fast. When all of those proc when I play primevil my character literally has no atk animation with endless arrows because he fires so fast. There is no global cooldown, everything appears to be able to be chained in succession. Its an amazing thing to watch. In PVE this combo will make sure no tank can taunt something off you, so be warned.
In pvp this also means I will cast 2-3 instant abilities to your 1. THATS HUGE.
                               Gap Closing abilities:

Charge and Overwhelm can NOT be used if the enemy opponent is slowed(snare). All it takes is charged shot to keep 2 out of 3 damage gap closer.
Note: Teleport, backdrop, and shadowstep as well as Tiger strike do not count.
Overwhelm = 10m gap closer that stuns, combos with hunters mark to trip. The hunters mark + overwhelm opening is what i fear the most as an archer class, again a simple charged shot prevents this from being used.
Charge = 12m range, with a slow attached. Can combo with tripple slash to trip. Another combo to be feared, again charged shot stops this from happening.
note: Neither can be used if shackled as well.
Tigerstrike- 20m range strike though target teleport, that will hit up to 5 people. If your the only way there, its simply a 20m gap closer. Most if not all Darkrunner/Shadowblodes will use this at range to open, followed by the other 2 above. This is the opening you WANT them to use, as it has no CC attached to it. If they use this feel free to shadowsmite/overwhelm/bullrush/howling banshee/ and win the fight.
One thing you must understand about that Darkrunner with the 500+ DPS weapon 2 hander is that he HAS TO TOUCH YOU TO KILL YOU. This is 100% preventable every, single, time, if you know how to chain skills and use the next hidden mechanic im going talk about:
                                    Disjointing

If you have played Dota 2 you know what this is. Its exactly the same in archeage as well. For those that dont know what I am talking about I will explain.
Dropback and Shadowstep when cast have a split second frame where your character is 100% invulnerable to CC. This means that if you overwhelm to me and I hit dropback at the same time you will miss 100% of the time. You will go to where I was originally, and I will be at my new dropback location with the range i need to open.
You can cause things like lassitude and banshee’s wail to miss as well if you time it right. You will know if you have disjointed lassitude because your char will appear to be asleep but you can move.
You will note that through this guide I have been listing ability “range.” On your enemies health bar on the top right there is a range listing of how far they are from you. Using those numbers and knowing what skills are used at what range will help you time your disjointing. It takes practice, but after you get it down you will rarely get hit by things like overwhelm and charge.
I Really hope this guide helps you understand Archeage a little bit better, if you have any questions about a specific class or ability feel free to leave a question, I will be checking back regularly to update the guide.
Current Build: 1.2