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Author Topic: 1 to 55 Beastlord Guide - By Ghostwise  (Read 4193 times)

Offline mac173

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1 to 55 Beastlord Guide - By Ghostwise
« on: January 02, 2004, 03:21:49 am »
Lvl 1-55 guide to Beastlords
By Ghostwise
Helpers : Boku, Ryessa, Nikatjef

Hullo - my name is Sauryan Furyous, I'm a gator spirit inishut (what dey humans call a Beastlord, cuz dey jealous) and I'm a big mean troll from da swamp.

Da boss asked me to give joo some troll wisdom about dem Beastlords, so here me goes. Most of it has been edited from troll into fancy Qeynos hi soshuty speak.

0/ Preliminary note
This guide is mostly covering the pre-55 Beastlord - since I have no direct experience of the highest levels (Sauryan is my alt). Many aspects appear to change post-60 ; new abilities appear (both AA and spells that strongly increase flexibility), and the Beastlord's tanking ability become quite respectable.

1/ The nature of the Beastlord
I tend to rate EQ classe according to flexibility - it is for me the most important factor, determining the variety of gameplay. I'd rate the Beastlords as reasonably flexible - you usually have enough different things to not to get bored. However, the Beastlord does one thing best : aggressive melee. Aggressive melee is not tanking, for the Beastlord's damage soaking ability during the early and mid-levels is mediocre ; it's inflicting a steady stream of damage through a great number of attacks and procs, which tend to be both fast and powerful.

Of course, the Beastlord also has the advantages of a pet class - stepping back to cast while the pet remains in melee, spreading the damage between two entities, launching suicide attacks (as delaying tactics or tactic to handle very tough encounters), aggro kiting, etc.

Those simple advantages are few and basic, but very strong - making the Beastlord able to solo with impressive effectiveness until at least the 50s, provided the player has decent Everquest skills and knowledge. Of course, being a solo killing machine allows for excellent experience, or for good plat or faction when farming.


2/ The limitations of the Beastlord
Beastlord have very little in the way of crowd control - no root, no mez, no shadow stepping, no gate, no fear, etc. This makes bad situations likely to go worse as you curse vehemently and try to find a way out. Accurate pulls are a must when you solo ; proper use of the Flash of light spells and using your pet to handle excessive opponents are two key tactics you will need to develop a feel for - as well as always keeping a speed-increasing spell, such as Spirit of wolf, on.

Your second limitation is that you're a leather class - ie, you can only wear armor that is classified as leather or lighter. Your Dodging ability is low (capping at level 24), your Blocking ability is not great either and your HPs are decent, but not huge. In some ways you're a clumsy, unskilled Monk. In short, if you are aggroed by a worthy opponent, that red bar will steadily go down, and you're especially vulnerable to being attacked by multiple opponents, since until the high levels you're not good at either avoiding or mitigating attacks. This compounds the previous limitation and makes bad pulls that much worse.

The third limitation is that you have a significant number of skills to max - 1HB, 2HB, piercing, hand-to-hand, channeling and all spell skills, and a few defensive skills. However, your DEX and WIS are almost guaranteed to be sub-par given your race, and if you solo correctly you'll level *fast*. So you'll end up with a ragged horde of skills desperatly trying to catch up with you, and forever dragging four or more levels behind their max. You're thus less efficient in melee until you can catch up (which will not happen until the late 30s or even 40s if you use both one handed combos (Hth/1H blunt and one of the previous/piercing) and a two handed blunt), and you *will* fizzle an awful lot. It's not uncommon for good, well-played Beastlords in their low 30s to only be able to cast two or three spells from a full mana bar because of the fizzles, for instance when attempting to dot using Conjuration or blast using Evocation. At 40, with Conjuration still in the low 80s, summoning food is a mana- and time-draining chore since it fizzles so much.
This limitation is especialy true if you are used to playing smaller, more civilized races, who tend to have faster skill progressions than the large, primitive Beastlord-capable races. If you've always played ogres, you're unlikely to notice anything unusual.
Given this problem with maxing skills, it may be tempting to take the easy way out and not work on a given category (say, Piercing or Conjuration). As most experienced Everquest players will tell you - don't. You're quite likely to regret it sooner or later, when you get that great spell or weapon, and raising a skill from scratch when you're high level often is a pain in the rear. Besides, taking the easy way out with a simple, powerful class is pure slackery.

The fourth limitation is that you'll be tempted to solo a lot, which will most likely result, if the Beastlord is your highest character, in a serious lack of experience in grouping and dungeons. Both will be indispensible at high level. So, if you do not have extensive grouping experience already, get some even when it is more efficient for you to solo like a misantrophe. If you only start to group in your 50s and hardly had any grouping experience before, you'll come across as a total ignorant.

The fifth limitation is that Beastlords are weak and unsexy below level nine, when you get your first pet - and that pet is not as awesome as you may wish. This is true to some extend of most classes, but I found this to be particularly true for Beastlords. You'll have to persevere. I'd consider it a good feature of the class, since it weeds out those who lack tenacity and prevent an inflation in the number of Beastlords.
Unless, of course, you are twinked to the gills.

The sixth limitation is that Beastlords don't get double attack. Double attack is a very important part in damage dealing ability past level 35 or so - ask any Ranger or Monk. Note that at very high levels and with a bunch of AAXP you can get double attack, but this might as well be never for most peoples.

A minor problems is also that, in some confused fights, your pet will tend to switch targets as it and you get attacked, thus ruining your attempts at synchronization. This can make you much less efficient ; learning to assist your pet (F1 twice then /assist hotkey, or doing a macro) instead of expecting your pet to intelligently choose targets is usually better. The procs' particles around your pet's target is a good indicator of your pet's current target.


3/ The advantages of the Beastlord
The Beatslord has three wealths - the red, the blue and the green. That is his own health, his mana and his pet's health. The whole idea is that all three bars should go down at about the same pace, so you can stay in the field longer and any downtime is three times as useful, since all three bars will be regenerating. Controlling the descent rate of the red and green bars is simply controlling who takes the aggro - you or your pet. When you want the green bar to go down, you simply step back to sit or cast (assuming you only have one opponent). The blue bar is used to heal the red or the green ones, to lower the damage taken on the red and green ones (by debuffing the foe, armoring you and your pet or making the foe die faster) and some utility stuff.
When soloing, of course, a longer time in the field and more productive downtime mean more experience per hour and thus a steady rate of levelling.

Pet procs are important - Spirit of lightning, blizzard and inferno are 60+ pts procs, and they proc often (they include a +75 bonus to the warder's DEX). Eight or ten times in an easy fight is not uncommon, and fighting a given foe with a pet that procs is much shorter than a fight with the same foe and the same pet, but no proc, would be. Also, at a high level, you can give good DEX buffs to your pet, making him proc even more often. The problem with pet procs is, of course, that procs will get resisted often in the last few levels before you get a new pet.
Note that as levels go by, the type of damage you can deal (magic, fire, cold, poison...) becomes wider, allowing you to be efficient against most mobs - unless they have high resists against everything, in which case you'll just have to slug it out.

Other very useful spells are :
- Flash of light, a very small ATK debuff and fear spell. It's not much, but that means not taking damage and can easily save your life from a bad pull - it's about your only way to get rid of adds outside of some Kunark zones. Plus, it raises your Divination, so use it often. The usual place to buy this one are the gypsies in Oasis of Marr.

- The small healing spells - Minor Healing as well as Cure Poison and Cure Disease will save you a *large* amount of downtime. At first you'll hate the ridiculous 10 points heal and having to cast it twenty times to heal yourself. Don't whine - it's an excellent way to raise your Alteration skill, allowing it to be maxed first. It is recommended that you alternate between the minor healing spells and inner fire to heal yourself at low levels. Not only is inner fire more mana efficient at some levles, it also allows you to raise both Abjuration adn Conjuration while healing.

- Sicken. Your first DOT stinks efficiency-wise - like most Hybrid spells, you get it too late for it to be really efficient. However it's your lowest Conjuration spell, so go ahead and cast it as often as possible to raise skill. Also note that Sicken is an excellent aggro-getter

- Fleeting fury. This spell is IMHO critical for a succesful Beastlord. You should always, always fury when you fight, during the whole fight. It is cast quickly, costs little mana (even when taking the Beastlord's low mana pool in consideration) and has many advantages. The STR boost is huge (and stacks with most STR buffs), the AC buff is OK and, most of all, you get twenty DEX points. The increase in STR and DEX is invaluable to raise those damn weapon skills. Plus, casting Fleeting Fury two, three or four times per fight will raise your Channeling and Abjuration skills at a good clip.
Once the spell is cast - that is, a few seconds as the box with the casting timer appears -, re-target the mob. Don't worry, the spell wil still be cast on you and not the mob, you can't change targets in mid-casting. It's important to re-target quickly, since at first you'll get a *lot* of fizzles. If you're fighting a single opponents, the F8 key works wonderfully in re-targetting.

- Drowsy. You only get it at level 22, so the slow effect is about 15%. That doesn't sound huge, but in practice that's a lot of avoided damage, and far fewer interrupts on your spells in melee, such as Fleeting Fury. It doesn't cost much mana since this is a very low level Shaman spell, and might be the best pulling spell available. I always start my fights by slowing my opponent. If it fizzles I let the pet tank a bit while I recast. If you need proof, go fight a NPC Shaman and have it cast it on you.

- Spirit of wolf. Need I say more ? Don't forget to SoW your pet too.

- Spirit of Monkey is a 20 pts DEX buff. I was fully expecting it would not stack with Fleeting fury (since for shamans, Dexterous aura and Fleeting fury do not stack), but it does. So that's 40 free DEX points, plus the other Fleeting fury advantages. This makes procing weapons quite interesting, and your pet even more likely to proc on foes.
I took down the Geonids corridor a few times with and without Spirit of Monkey on my gator as a test. Result : very little downtime with buffed pet, noticeable downtime with unbuffed pet. So cast it.

- The Stamina buffs are pretty good - Spirit of Ox was worth more than 50 Hps for me when I buffed myself at 39, and Health is worth 100+ hps. Yes, this won't make any buff-casting cleric envious, but there's no reagent and you're soloing anyway.

- Summon compagnon is occasionally forgotten - and it's expensive at 53 plats, can only be fetched in the tunnel in E Commons, and will tend to fizzle a *lot* if your conjuration skill isn't maxed, which is probably the case. It's not as useful as it used to be - nowadays pets do not generate aggro by themselves, and pathing has quite improved from what it used to be. Still, there are circumstances where you'll be separated from your pet, and Murphy's law says it's the exact instant where you'll be attacked by a strong opponent. Don't take risks to save a few plats, and buy it. Re-conjuring and rebuffing a pet because the old one somehow got lost is time-a and mana-intensive.

- Spiritual light (group, three mana per tick, three hps per tick) is a great spell - the equivalent of many AAXP points just rolled into one group spell, and at level 44 to boot. Since it stacks with most everything, it will also makes you welcome in most groups. Having some mana regen is also good for training sessions with spells in order to raise skills, and with the hp regen you can even chain-DOT yourself for hours with Sicken. Me I created stack upon stack of water to raise conjuration and gave them away to newbies - it was very long and boring but I wanted to use the best DOTs.

- Shard of frost is a neat 300 pts nuke of the fast-cast, slow-recast type. It works surprisingly well even with a so-so Evocation skill, and produces few fizzles. This spell is a serious jump up in your DPS, unless you are fighting cold-resistant mobs such as frost giants.

Higher level spell are even better - past 50, the Beastlord starts getting pretty powerful spells, including further group buffs, much better slows, regen, haste etc.


4/ Sauryan story

For what it's worth, here is the path taken by my Troll Beastlord. The level brackets are approximations, don't take my word on them if you intend to follow the same path a bit. I never grouped during that time since Sauryan prefers gators to most peoples, except as food. He also tended to prefer somewhat lonely, wind-beaten, wilderness zones.

1-8 Innothule swamp doing the newbie quests and whacking froglocks and kobolds while dreaming about the day where i would have a pet. Resisted the temptation to buy froglock blood with all of my money (this quests is great experience, and the blood can be found at vendors) - I needed to fight, not quest, to raise skills. Dumped all practice points into 2HB while it was cheap, and was very thankful about it later. The quest with the Froglock tad meat is excellent to earn money to buy backpacks, leather armor, etc. and the Dark One quests are cool.
Of course now peoples will not be debuting in Innothule anymore . Just pass through PoK to your favourite newbie zone or one you'd like to discover (Field is bone is nice ; Misty Thicket is swell if you're a Barbarian), and remember you're after non-stop combat to boost skills, not quests.

9-12 Bound in Oggok, went into Rathe Mountain to camp the three giant beetles (just follow the valley straight ahead until you reach the small monument). There's a double pull and a single pull, decent loot and good xp. You can also listen at the persons accusing each other of KSing giants.

13-16 Went to lake Rathe, swam across to the barbarian fishing village. Camped the barbarians at the top of the slope (one single pull and one double pull, can be broken into three singles). When I was far too weighted down with fishing spears I'd swim to the ogre shaman camp on the other side of the zone. Use the copper coins to buy iron rations, that's the same as destroying it, except you get compact, light, long lasting food instead. And your swimming skill will be great. By 15 or so I started doing the barbs at the bottom of the slope as well. It often was pretty risky, but I enjoyed solitude and some thrills instead of the crowding at Paludal.

17-25 North coast of the Overthere. This place has monsters in their low 20s (the rest of the zone is in the 30s). Great solo hunting, except of course when it rains. The outpost is nearby with guards, stores, bank, etc. Save any excellent sabretooth pelt for the bazaar, and to a lesser extend the ordinary ones. If you can, have someone else with good Cha sell the small looted gems.
I mostly chose Overthere since I'm an European playing on an US server - so the zone was somewhat empty.

25-30 Giant fort in Warslisk woods. Start your way from the back entrance, of course, not the front. Can easily be soloed - at the end I could solo the whole camp in solo pulls without a break. The giants overrcon, and they have excellent loot ; I walked way from here with two forest loops, but I guess I was lucky. Like the barb village, you're far from everything, so bring lots of bags and food, and summon water a lot (this will help with conjurational skills). Somebody is probably killing Grachnist - ask if you can have the gloves. They are very good equipment for a Beastlord and you're likely to get them free since they're lore.

31-39 Overthere again, this time south of the outpost. Kill all berserkers and save their tails - the quest is excellent xp and will raise your faction so you can get a hammer whose proc will teleport you to the Overthere once you're 50+ - your own little evac. By the end I was starting to get bored and switching to other characters for a little more variety - however fights are a bit risky (some rhinos are tough) so things can stay interesting.
Level 37 and 38 were pretty miserable - like most pairs of levels just before you get a pet upgrade, I think. Plus, in the Overthere pretty much everything was blue - which covered a large span of levels. I couldn't tell if a given critter was just a level below me and would probably kill me, or five levels below me and meat for the beastlord. With hindsight I should have moved to Crystal Caverns sooner.

39-46 Crystal caverns. I love this zone - and would have loved to slaughter topmost orcs at an earlier level, but the pet kept getting lost in the small, quirky tunnels and the orcs kept falling down the well and coming back with tons of renforcements - and you have no way to snare them to prevent that. So instead get a few bat wings and buy a few cloudy potions (about 15 plats with a Beatlord's terrible Charisma). Get within sight of the Ry'gorr fort, levitate, invis, zone into Crystal Caverns, jump down the well, go into town and proceed to the crystal terrors. Lots of XP, and OK loot (a few plats and occasional mid-range vendor gems such as jade, topaz, etc. Have someone else sell them if you can, your charisma sucks). You could also give the Geonids a try, although drops have been somewhat nerfed. Think carefully about whether or not you want to stay long enough to make Geonids KOS - their tunnel is pretty much your only way to get out of the zone.
The 39 pet with poison proc and quickening is remarkably tough at those levels - it is tempting to just sit and let him to all the carnage, but you probably still have weapon skills to raise and spreading the damage is still the more efficient way to go.
Oh, don't forget to go train riposte at 40.
I did 42 to 46 solely soloing the Geonids - good XP, and I ended up with a very large amount of cash. I needed it, too, to prepare for two bad levels, 47 and 48 - where I expected my pet to start being too weak. I upgraded most armor pieces and bought a stave of shielding and a starlighug spear

47-48 Echo caverns. I had come hunting the underbulks with my main character at 50, and thought I'd really should hunt there earlier with the next character to reach those levels. Loot looked weak, but since I'd gorged on plats in Crystal Caverns I didn't care - only to make more than 400 PPs since underbulk claws sell for more than 3 plats. Experience is steady, the fights were easy enough to dual-wield HtH and Piercing (my weakest skills, who could thus steadily improve), and I could geat rid of those pesky levels quite smoothly - I had been promised 49 for Beastlords was a great moment.
Spawn in the corridor is slow, so I also did the room in front of the Taskmaster. At 48 about 30% of my opponents were light blue, but since my pet was green I wasn't about to attempt cocky stuff, even though it took hours to clear that level away. 48 is often considered the worst level for Beastlords.

49-52 Wanted Claws of Veeshan faction - some HoT leather armor was waiting for someone to get it in the guild's bank - so spent time in Great Divide and Eastern Wastes killing lots of giants and wolves. Beastlord are quite good at faction farming - have pet slaughter greens, take down light blues and blues as you usually would and chew through them.
At this point I found myself somewhat under-equipped armor-wise (all of the plat earned with my alt went to my main, except for that pair of weapons bought with Geonid money). I thus started getting guild groups to do my epic - I figure the slow proc from the right claw will allow me to stay somewhat under-armored for a bit longer.

5/ Beastlord macros

The simple fleeting fury macro
While Fleeting fury is a great spell, it involves much potential confusion in targetting and re-targetting in the middle of combat. It is thus a good candidate for a macro.

The simple version :
Code:

/tar Sauryan
/pause 2
/cast 6


Here Sauryan is me, and 6 is the gem where fleeting fury is. The /pause is here to compensate for client-server lag, and makes sure the order in which commands is received is the right one and nothing gets eaten. Of course, after doing that macro you have to retarget the mob - pressing F8 to retarget the nearest NPC is usuallly sufficient.

A more complete version for Fleeting fury :
Code:

/pause 2, /target <Your Name>
/pause 10, /cast <Spell Slot Number>
/pause 2, /pet target
/pause 10, /cast <Spell Slot Number>
/assist


This variant will target yourself, cast Fleeting Fury, target your warder, cast Fleeting Fury, and then assist on your warder's target. It has the advantage of boosting not only your base stats, but your warder's as well, while giving twice the chance of skill gains. Further, the speed of this macro allows it to take effect at the cost of only a single swing.

Note that although the /pause commandes re listed before the action commands on each line, they are actually executed after the action. Yes, I know, it's a bit weird. Just imagine the pauses are after the actions and it will make much more sense.

The non macro version for fleeting fury :
TAB to target previous (you), ALT+F6 (where 6 is the number of the fleeting fury spell gem), TAB again for previous target (the mob). This is the recommended approach as long as you keep fizzling a lot - once the spell has become somewhat reliable, macros are more comfortable.

Fast targetting of pet wit a spell macro
Code:

/pause 2, /pet target
/pause 65, /cast <Spell Slot Number>
/cast <Spell Slot Number>
/assist


So here targets the pet, takes 6.5 secpnds to cast some spell, and then target the pet's target. Adjuste pause time accoridng to the spell, of course. Again, the idea here is to prevent targetting mistakes and keep you and the pet attacking the same targets despite any confusion.
There are two attempts to cast the spell, in quick successions, to prevent some fizzles.

Pulling with a spell :
Code:

/gsay INC - pulling %t
/cast <Spell Slot Number>
/cast <Spell Slot Number>
/pet back off


The message is here to warn the group, of course, with %t being a variable for the name of the mob. So, if you're pulling a orc pawn, this message say INC - pulling an Orc pawn. Warning the group is quite important, peoples can"t see what you're doing when you're some distance away. They also can't focus all the time, and pull messages help them to know when they should focus.
Again, the spell is cast twice to prevent some fizzles. Pulling spells are usually slow spells, such as Drowsy.
The /pet back off part is to prevent your spell running up to your pull and engaging it immediately - for instance if the mob immediately cast on you, shoot an arrow as you, has some weird AoE taunt, etc. Further /pet back off commands may be necessary to prevent the warder from engaging.

Assisting :
Code:

/stand
/assist <Name Of Main Assist>
/pause 4, /pet attack


A standard in grouping situation, where asssiting is mandatory. The /stand part is here so you don't have to care about your initial position (sitting, ducking...) - you'll be upright. The small pause is for lag prevention. The /assist command is used with an attack command, as I assume you've kept the auto-attack when assisting option.

As a Beatslord, remember to *wait a bit* before you start assisting the main tank/main assist. It is not uncommon for a MA to have the wrong mob targetted at first, and to take a second or three to get the right one, the one he wants to kill first. Assiting with this macro too early would send your pet attacking what might be the very, very wrong mob and result in a wipe. So leave a few seconds for the MA to target properly.