I think most people don’t know this, but when the going gets tough, you can exploit the dungeon environment to your advantage.
There are two types of traps: I will call them “open” and “hidden”.
Open traps are the visible fire-geysers, fire-poles, poison crystals, spikes, etc. that litter the dungeons, you don’t get any warning for them and they usually have some kind of pattern in how they go off.
Hidden traps are the ones where you get a (!) sign warning you that there is a trap close. Hidden traps have small sparkly red particle effects on the floor and they usually only trigger when you are -very- close to their epicenter (about a character-width away).
Hidden traps also have a short reset timer, so they do not immediately trigger again when you are in their vicinity for too long.
Fun with Traps
Now the fun part is that the open traps also affect mobs while hidden traps don’t.
Hidden traps don’t trigger for NPC monsters, but only for PCs.
You can kill slews of monsters this way by kiting them through the fire-pole without taking damage by using crouch (default key C, when weapon sheathed), Dwarves and Porkul don’t even need to duck
You can test this on the mangler on floor 2 in Dragon Ruins, just equip a good shield, aggro it, and stand on the stairs so he will be positioned standing directly inside the fire-pole trap and just take his blows. The trap will kill him for you (for example if you have trouble doing damage to him due to his long reach and pushback)
This works with almost all monsters, just remember, it works both ways, so if you are being chased by a Gargoyle, they won’t be affected by the fire-pole, just like a short Porkul or Dwarf wouldn’t!
IMPORTANT: If you do not attack the mob, you will not gain XP and they don’t count towards your kill-quests!
If you know the area well, you can run away from PVP by zigzagging on the edges of the hidden traps, chances are the PVPer will try to catch you and run right into them, especially if you distract him.
Fun With Ladders
If you ever find yourself engaged in PVP with a ranged class, remember that they can not cast upwards or downwards, only straight ahead.
If you can find a ladder, use it to gain higher ground, they will need to come to you to do damage, and then you just need to camp the ladder from above.
Be aware that splash and AoE still apply, so if your target is escaping up a ladder, throw an explosion/whirlwind at the ladder, it should cover most of the ladder and knock them back down.
You can not climb obstacles or ascend ladders if you take damage, so you can poison them and watch them fall off the ladder over and over trying to escape.
This also applies for NPC monsters, if you got hit by a gargoyle poison arrow, good luck ascending the ladder, or if there are Zule Warriors that throw stones.
Fun With Line Of Sight
All attacks have a certain range, and projectiles will not chase you like in WoW, you can simply avoid them by going left, right or even running away from them (they fizzle out at a certain range). Projectiles also do not go through walls or other physical Line of Sight (LoS) blocking objects (pillars, blocks, etc). LoS is important for kiting and can be used to clear mobs without fighting for one second.
If you pull aggro from a mob, it will chase you, but not forever. If a mob can’t reach you, they will de-spawn and reappear at their original spawn location after a short while (with their health as it was before they de-spawned)
You can use this to clear a tough crowded space for a few seconds and make a run for it. Most mobs, like players, can’t reach you on ladders, so they are a perfect way to de-spawn some of them clearing a path to the objective. The respawn rate is in the range of 5-10 seconds so be quick.
This of course will not give you any XP or count towards kill-quests
You can also exploit this weakness as a ranged class.
Get a few hits in from range standing at the ladder, climb on the ladder, wait for the mob to despawn; respawn; repeat until dead. This will award XP and kill-count.
Exploiting the enemy AI is also important. Most NPCs will try to reach you in a straight line, if there are obstacles, they will try to go around it.
You can run circles around them with a pillar in between while popping of shots from range while they try to decide if they want to go left or right around the obstacle.
Fun With Long Range Melee Weapons
Spears are great, their range is about one and a half character width, or two monster steps and they pierce multiple foes.
Even better, they pierce walls.
Spears, like any other melee weapon, ignores terrain and is able to hit opponents on the other side of physical obstacles.
So while the mob is having the indecision of his life trying to figure out if he wants to go left or right around the pillar, you can safely deliver damage.
Be aware that this works the same way for NPC monsters! A mangler -can- hit you through an obstacle with its superior reach!
Keep in mind that this does -not- work for ranged spells, but works for melee-based special attacks performed with a melee weapon.
Greatswords, 2H Axes and Mauls can also sometimes penetrate far enough through obstacles, but spears have the best chance to do so. I wouldn’t count on 1handed swords, clubs or daggers to reach through.
Fun With Size
So you have undoubtedly noticed that size matters. The larger a mob is, the greater its reach.
Manglers for example seem to have the range of a spear, more or less, and hit higher with a large frontal cone of impact (they can get you even halfway up a ladder). They also have a relatively small hitbox for such a large creature and getting a hit in is very hard in melee because you need to get in really close.
If you are small (Porkul, Dwarf), you can actually avoid their punch! Taller players can too, by ducking (default C-key), however you can only duck when the weapon is sheathed! Also, their physical collision box is huge so they don’t fit in narrow spaces, you can exploit this with LOS. Fat Angry Faces or Shock Troopers also don’t fit through certain passages, perfect way to abuse your spear a bit for some cheap kills!
Also, while you can’t run through mobs, the mobs can run and glitch through you. I stood in the middle of a Shock Troopers fat *** and he couldn’t hit me with any of the attacks.
Fun With Attack Animations
You have noticed that different mobs and PCs use different swings of their weapons.
Angry Faces do an overhead swing with their cleaver, Maulers do a forward thrust, Zule Warriors/Carnivore Plants do a vertical slash, etc.
There are good ways to avoid damage depending on the attack animation.
Never try to avoid a vertical slash with a left/right sidestep, the arcs are around 120-180 degrees, you will not avoid it. Use backstep, the reach of slashes is relatively short.
Don’t try to avoid forward thrusts by way of backstep, usually the thrust attacks have a reach of 1-2 backsteps, you will still get hit, unless you were already at the edge of the attack-range, but even then it is a risk. Thrust attacks have a far smaller cone than slashes, maybe around 45 degrees, a sidestep is far more effective.
Being close and personal with the opponent using thrusts is most effective, as the cone is smaller at the center and the mob can’t turn fast enough.
With overhead swings it depends, the cone is ~60 degrees and the reach is around 1 backsteps so you will be taking a risk. It also strictly depends on the look of the mob, its size and weapon I found it almost impossible to sidestep a Shock Troopers attacks, backing out was better but not reliable.
Some attacks are better blocked than avoided, adjust your playstyle accordingly.
(This article was originally posted on the Wizardry Online beta forums. Reproduced with permission from the author.)