Updated Mon, Apr 04, 2011 by gunky
Hunters and Wargs are natural enemies. Or maybe the best of friends...?
Fighting in the Ettenmoors, even when part of a large freep ("Free People") raid, requires a setup and strategies more closely related to soloing than to grouping. Creeps (monster players) do not follow scripted AI routines, so threat is not an issue. Crowd control and stealth play a much larger role in PvMP than in the rest of the game. Power is seldom an issue, since most fights are brutally brief, and if you've been in one place long enough to burn through most of your power, chances are the creeps know about it and are on their way to say howdy. You're there for the same reason they are, but you have better stuff than they do.
All on-level freeps hit the Ettenmoors with a distinct advantage over the creeps. At level 65, freeps typically have excellent gear and dozens of useful skills. They have had a significant amount of time learning how their character works, what their skills can do, etc. Creeps, on the other hand, have no gear and start the game with only a small handful of skills. They have a few modest potions and rely almost entirely on player skill and attacking in numbers.
Most creeps cannot hit as hard as Hunters. That is not to say they aren't dangerous - they are. Some of them are VERY dangerous. But most do not have the range or consistent striking power of a Hunter. Range is the 'Moors Hunter's best friend, and intelligent application of crowd control measures helps ensure that the creeps stay at a safe range. Mobility is the less-attractive-but-still-important sibling of Range, and most Hunters use hit-and-run tactics to stay alive - fire a big shot, run, turn and auto-attack, run. Standing in one spot long enough to get off a full rotation of shots is a good way to earn a ticket to the respawn circle. The Fleetness buff (and Improved Fleetness if traited 5 deep in the Huntsman line) allows for fast, accurate shots on the run without the loss of focus, and this can be make-or-break when fighting in the 'Moors.
Simply put, hitting hard wins fights. Burn Hot is no longer the kamikaze skill it used to be, and when used with Needful Haste and Heart-seeker, it can land some devastating hits in short order. Many Hunters like to use this 1-2-3 hit from Camouflage, surprising their foes with a massive blast and then following it up with a series of hammering shots. Creeps hate this combo - evidence enough that it is effective.
Cry of the Predator works well on sneaking, pouncing Warg Stalkers, and Bard's Arrow works on everything. Unlike normal PvE mobs, creeps do not flee in a panic when feared. They are, however, drastically slowed and unable to attack until the fear is cured. Distracting Shot provides a nice 10-second window of opportunity in which the Hunter can accomplish all manner of terrible things. And don't forget those combat traps and Rain of Thorns! Immobilized enemies make safe targets, at least for a few seconds.
Stealth also plays an important role here. The Camouflage skill is rather limited in utility for PvE, but in the Ettenmoors it is perfect for setting up ambushes and occasionally evading foes. Find a good position, stealth up and wait for opportunity to present itself. The Hunter can track enemies while stealthed, but movement or attacking will drop him out of stealth instantly. Elf and Hobbit Hunters have a stealth advantage over the other Men and Dwarves, as they can trait for racial stealth, enabling them to sneak around and find the good spots without being seen by the enemy.
Hunters are also good anti-stealth. When properly traited, they can track sneaking Warg Stalkers, and even without traiting they can track non-stealthed humanoid prey. Rain of Thorns and Rain of Arrows are also fine anti-stealth tools, as they can be used to expose sneaking Warg Stalkers who may be standing near other creeps, waiting to pounce.
A couple of cautionary caveats: firstly, Hunters are particularly choice targets for most creeps because of their threatening DPS and their relative squishiness. Solo Hunters will have a rough time in the 'Moors. They might prevail in one-on-one spars, and particularly skilled Hunters might even manage a 2-on-1 fight, but without a good-sized group backing them up they will spend most of their time running away and/or getting pounced by sprinting wargs.
Secondly, Heartseeker, the rock star of the Hunter skills, paints a huge, glowing reticle on its target, which can be easily spotted by the creep player and anyone standing near him. If you want to land a Heartseeker, start the induction in an open field where there is no chance for the target to break line of sight, or when the target is trapped and unable to move. And once it does land, be ready to move because you'll probably get pounced.