Oh, hey everyone! You all caught me while being sneaky, something we Burglars very much enjoy being. I am not sure why everyone insists on calling us Burglars, though. I have never stolen a thing in my life, honest!
So, you want to know what it is we do and how we go about doing it, you say? Well, we Scouts have three different techniques for Scouting, though all three overlap a fair amount.
There are general skills and guidelines that apply to all three techniques, but first let me list the three of them, where I feel they are best applied, and the main benefits of using that technique:
- The Quiet Knife: All on-level landscape tasks, quests and Tier 1 – 2 skirmishes, Tier 1 (and some T2) instances and Tier 1 raids (The greatest amount of instant damage)
- The Mischief-maker: Tier 2 Raids and some instances and skirmishes (Tier 3) (Crowd control, Debuffing, Fellowship-wide healing and power restoring)
- The Gambler: Soloing over-level quests and group instances or just to try something fun! (A bit of everything, with an emphasis on Damage over time)
Since most endeavors call for the Quiet Knife technique, I will discuss that first. As most know, with each technique comes benefits associated only with that technique, benefits unavailable to the other styles. These benefits are the defining aspects that make each technique what it is. Here are the benefits that come with being a Quiet Knife (these are the ‘line’ bonuses at the side of the Trait Window):
So, you likely noticed that nearly every benefit to the Quiet Knife technique involves critical hits. The Quiet Knife line is largely devoted to two things: critical strikes and attacking from stealth. Notice that last benefit? It guarantees a critical strike when attacking from stealth with either of our two best skills for doing so: Surprise Strike and Cunning Attack.
Let’s go through some of the Quiet Knife’s main skills. For now, I will mainly focus on skills either devoted or largely influenced by the Quiet Knife technique, leaving the more general skills for later…
The beginning of the Scout’s ‘critical chain’. Critical chain skills are skills that only become available after a critical strike is made. There are two stages to the chain: Openers (like Double-edged Strike), and Finishers (to be seen shortly!)
Feint Attack is part of the Quiet Knife’s critical chain. Once Improved Feint Attack is learned (the 6th of the 7 Quiet Knife line bonuses), it is no longer restricted to the chain but can be used at any time. Feint Attack allows the Quiet Knife to use many skills normally available only while sneaking and boosts many attacks that strike harder while sneaking. It also gives a +10% Melee Damage boost until one of those stealth-related attacks is used (up to 10 seconds)
If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not lose heart! So far this is mainly listing things for easy reference once we get to the heart of the matter. At the end of this essay, I will give tips for scouting in the field that will bring all of this together [with any luck! :)]
As can be seen, the emphasis on critical strikes we saw in the Quiet Knife line bonuses is furthered even more within their skills. We have a skill to guarantee a critical strike, a critical chain of skills only useable once a critical strike is achieved (and which are more powerful than most other skills), and a skill that improves all damage against a foe and weakens them even further to critical strikes. In the stealth department, we have skills that strike harder when in stealth, an extra fellowship maneuver starter only available while in stealth, and a skill that lets us feign stealth to a degree.
Many of the skills listed above come from the Quiet Knife tree, so I will not list them again here. However, let me cover a few of the benefits to be gained from the tree itself. As you will see, the thematic continuity of the Quiet Knife technique continues to be preserved:
Positional damage is something new (though astute readers will have already seen its mention before!). All Scouts, no matter what technique they employ, want to be striking at their foes from behind. It would be more accurate to say that all attackers should strike from behind where they can, but it is even more important that Scouts do so, and this extra Positional damage is only a very slight reason for doing so.
One last thing before we pull this all together. Higher level Scouts will have access to Legendary Items (where is that booing coming from?). Let’s have a quick look at what legacies are available to our weapons and scouting kits to see if we can draw any more ideas for how best to perform the Quiet Knife technique (legacies appropriate for Quiet Knives bolded):
- Burglar Weapon Legacies (Major)
- Burglar Bleed Damage (+1% – +15%)
- Critical Response Skill Damage (+1% – +10%)
- Cunning Attack Bleed Stack Chance (+3% – +66%)
- Position Surprise Strike from Stealth (+3% – +25%)
- Feint Attack Damage (+3% – +25%)
- Snag Damage Bonus (+3% – +25%)
- Subtle Stab Damage Multiplier (+1% – +10%)
- Surprise Strike Critical Rating (varies depending on level and quality of the weapon)
- Burglar Weapon Legacies (Minor)
- Coup de Grace Damage (+3% – +25%)
- Critical Chain Skills Critical Multiplier (+3% – +25%)
- Harmful Gamble Damage (+4% – +40%)
- Lucky Strike Damage (+3% – +25%)
- Riddle Range (+1 meter – +20 meters)
- Trick Range (+1 meter – +9 meters)
- Trick and Trick Removal Damage (+1% – +25%)
- Subtle Stab Critical Multiplier (+3% – +25%)
- Stat Legacies (Agility/Fate/Vitality) (varies, depending on level and quality)
Well, as you can see, no Quiet Knife would complain if they were to find a weapon with four, five, or even six Major legacies. Some quick explanation on these:
- Critical Response Skill Damage applies to all 3 Critical Chain skills listed above, and any others you might acquire
- The Cunning Attack Stack Chance applies only to non-critical, non-stealth attacks. Still, the extra damage adds up very well!
- Ideally, our critical rating will already be at or near cap, so we can avoid Surprise Strike Critical Rating for one of the other legacies
- Critical Chain Skills Critical Multiplier adds 25% extra damage to all critical hits when using the critical chain skills. Normally, a critical hit does 150% damage and a devastating critical hit 200%. With this legacy at full, those change to 175% and 225%, respectively.
- For all classes, changing a minor legacy to your main attribute (Agility for Scouts) is something to consider. With no legacy points spent at all, this will give a First Age 100th level weapon +149 Agility, which equates to +149 Crit Rating, +1,192 Physical Mastery, +447 Evade and +298 Parry, all while freeing up your points for legacies with a more linear progression
- Burglar Kit Legacies (Major)
- Critical Chain Skills Critical Chance (+1% – +15%)
- Devastating Critical Buff Duration (+3 seconds – +30 seconds)
- Off-hand Critical Rating (varies, depending on level and quality of the kit)
- Mischievous Glee Healing (+5% – +50%)
- Hedge Your Bet Damage (+3% – +25%)
- Gamble Chance (+5% – +20%)
- Positional Damage (+1% – +15%)
- Skills Critical Multiplier (+1% – +15%)
- Tricks Duration (+1 second – +15 seconds)
- Burglar Kit Legacies (Minor)
- All In Buff Duration (+1 second – +15 seconds)
- Coup de Grace Stealth Window (+1 second – +10 seconds)
- Increased Range for Reveal Weakness (+1 meter – +20 meters)
- Clever Retort Damage and Healing (+4% – +40%)
- Addle Induction Multiplier (+7% – +50%)
- Sneak Movement Speed (+1% – +10%)
- Pulse Modifier for Glee (+1 pulse – +9 pulses)
- Stealth Level (+1 level – +3 levels)
- Stat Legacies (Agility/Fate/Vitality) (varies, depending on level and quality)
- Critical Chain Skills Critical Chance is not to be missed! (more on this later)
- You may have noticed that Feint Attack has the additional benefit of granting +10% Positional damage and a +20% Skills Critical Multiplier when it does a critical or devastating critical hit. Each Quiet Knife technique has a capstone skill that grants bonuses with a critical strike. What those benefits are varies with the capstone. Normally this bonus lasts for 15 seconds only, but the Devastating Critical Buff Duration increases the duration
- Off-hand Critical Rating (like Surprise Strike above) should be one of the first legacies we can set aside, since we should be able to get near the Critical Rating cap through other means
- Once Coup de Grace is used, if the foe falls in the next 4 seconds, the Quiet Knife will enter stealth briefly. The Coup de Grace Stealth Window legacy gives additional time to slay the foe before the opportunity to gain stealth is lost
- Quiet Knives move at 90% of their normal speed when sneaking. The Sneak Movement Speed legacy can boost that so that you sneak at your full running speed!
All right then! We have covered our skills, the powers we draw from the Quiet Knife technique and skill tree, and how our legendary items compliment them. Now it is time to put it to use in the field!
Pulling it all together
- The best way to open a combat is from stealth. A Surprise Strike (for foes with lesser morale) or a Cunning Attack (for foes with larger morale to take advantage of the bleed) is a great way to begin. However, it always pays to think outside the kit, so to speak. Using Aim and then Coup de Grace guarantees each of Coup de Grace’s three attacks will strike critically, dealing a great amount of damage. If the fight will be a longer one (over 1 minute) this also allows Coup de Grace to be ready again sooner. Finally, Coup de Grace does not seem to break stealth immediately, so a quick follow up with Surprise Strike, or ideally Cunning Attack (since the foe will be turning toward us now and the bleed amount is independent of facing), will pile on more damage to the creep
- Once you have done all you can from stealth, Feint Attack/Improved Feint Attack is a good way to continue. Each subsequent attack afterward (for up to 10 seconds) will get the +10% melee damage bonus Feint Attack gives
- Hopefully by now you have opened up your critical chain with a critical hit. At this point, you mostly want to keep to the critical chain skills if you can. Let me briefly summarize all the benefits that apply only to the critical chain skills that can be earned from the Quiet Knife line, fruit from its tree, and legendary items:
- All critical chain skills bypass 10% of the foe’s mitigation
- +20% damage to all critical chain skills (10% from Dance of Blades from the tree and 10% from the legacy), +45% to Feint Attack (from its additional +25% damage legacy)
- Every critical chain skill has a 45% chance to lower the foe’s Critical Defense by 5% for 8 seconds. While this is not a cumulative effect (it will not go lower than 5%), the timer is renewed every time the chance is met thereafter. With the ease of critical striking for Quiet Knife scouts, this is effectively a +5% Skills Critical Multiplier for every person striking that foe
- +25% Critical Magnitude to all critical chain skills (from the legacy)
- +15% chance to strike critically with critical chain skills (from the amazing legacy)
- +10 Positional Damage and +20% Skills Critical Multiplier for 15 seconds (longer with the legacy) from striking critically with Feint Attack
- If only there were more than our three critical chain skills (Feint Attack, Double-edged Strike, and Flashing Blades) to take advantage of all these critical chain benefits… and there is! A dip of 12 points into the Gambler line will grant:
- With Gambler’s Advantage, we now have four critical chain skills, each of which has only a 5 second cooldown. As long as we are continually landing critical strikes, these skills will be available to us to wreak havoc on the Enemy’s forces
- I might cover what sort of equipment to look for in a later installment but, before we finally leave critical chain skills behind, let me mention one more thing. There is a set of jewelry, attainable only in the Epic Battles [where is that booing coming from? :)], that grants the following set bonus:
- The highest chance for a Quiet Knife to strike with a critical hit with normal scouting skills is: +25% (from a capped Critical Rating) + 5% (from Deft Strikes in the Quiet Knife tree) + 10% (from the Epic Battle jewelry, if the 10% chance is met) = 40%. With the Critical Chain Skills Critical Chance legacy, the chance for a critical hit with the critical chain skills is 55%.
- As for skills outside the critical chain skills, Improved Feint attack gives its +10% Melee Damage bonus for 10 seconds (or until a stealth-enhanced skill is used), but the skill itself only has a 5 second cooldown. With the legacies boosting its damage, we want to be using Feint Attack whenever we can. So, just before Feint Attack is ready to be used again, a Surprise Strike (for foes with lower morale) or a Cunning Attack (for foes with higher morale) will give us full benefit of Feint Attack’s stealth enhancement, just in time to regain it with another Feint Attack!
- Remember, however, that only non-stealth, non-critical attacks can be stacked with the Cunning Attack Bleed Stack Chance legacy. Therefore, after a Surprise Strike from stealth, before using Feint Attack to regain the stealth enhancement, a quick non-stealthed Cunning Attack will have its full chance to put an additional bleed on the foe. In longer fights, it is a good idea to alternate between Surprise Strike (10 second cooldown) and Cunning Attack (5 second cooldown), being sure to follow up any Surprise Strike with a Cunning Attack out of stealth, before using Feint Attack to regain its bonuses
- Lastly, you will have likely noticed that every single attack we Scouts have is a ‘Fast’ attack. When it comes to fast-paced combat and striking quickly, we Quiet Knives have few equals. Even so, there are fast attacks and there are fast attacks, with Flashing Blades and Subtle Stab at the slow and fast ends of the spectrum, respectively. A Subtle Stab is virtually instantaneous and, as such, should be used whenever it is ready (3 second cooldown). The Quiet Knife that is able to deftly mix Subtle Stab into their dance of war is a true force to be reckoned with!
I hope this guide to the Quiet Knife Scouting technique has been useful! Scouting is no easy task, so try not to let things overwhelm you. Learning a bit here and a bit there will add up, and those new to the craft will find themselves well along the path to mastery before they know it!
The Quiet Knife technique is the technique most applicable to the everyday situations in which we Scouts will find ourselves, though personal taste and preference should always come first, of course! In our next installment, we will discuss the Mischief-maker, and why it is more fun to be surrounded by friends to witness any Mischief you create! See you soon!
(dedicated to all Papa Hobbits, Mama Hobbits, and Baby Hobbits, everywhere)