Little Elin, Big Stick: An Introduction to the Lancer
Little Elin, Big Stick: An Introduction to the Lancer
I. About the Lancer
II. How Lancers Work
III. Basic Abilities
IV. Threat and Control
From the official TERA website...
Stand fast at the heart of the storm, roaring defiance into the wind. Shield your friends and smite your enemies. Pin down your foes and laugh as they try to knock you down.
As powerful in defense as in attack, the lancer’s role in a fight is at the head of the formation. His heavy shield absorbs damage, while his lance provides striking power that’s targeted yet effective against multiple foes. Numerous skills for drawing aggro let the lancer take the heat and give his party members more opportunities. Lancers can minimize damage to their own party and help them devastate the enemy.
Lancers are by and large our primary tanks in Arborea. Warriors can tank, but are harder to heal, wear leather, and don't have the belt tools for the job. As a Lancer, you have been provided with a full array of threat-generating, damage mitigation and taunting abilities. This guide goes over some basic principles about the Lancer and provides some helpful tips for you as you start out and become more comfortable with the class.
How Lancers Work
The first and most important thing to keep in mind about Lancers, is that they should always be Elin. If you're Aman, Castanic or any other race, you're doing it wrong!
All joking aside, you don't have to be Elin. In fact, there are a couple other races that have racials that can be of great benefit as a Lancer. The Baraka have a racial ability that recovers 100% health and mana on a 2 hour cooldown that could be of some use in tight situations. In the end, because of the cooldown on all racials, your choice in race is really just a matter of personal preference.
As a Lancer, your role is similar to that of nearly all other Tanks in MMOs: maintain threat, mitigate damage and otherwise keep the boss busy so everyone else can safely do damage when they're not having fire and other garbage thrown at them. The Lancer focuses on balancing damage and defense while staying alive. Lancers must build up mana for their mitigation and threat abilities by using their primary ability, Combo Attack. Making sure you are attacking often enough to have mana for defending those large boss hits and maintaining threat can sometimes be challenging and will become one of your primary struggles as a Lancer.
When you've created your Lancer, the first two abilities on your action bar will be Combo Attack I on your left click and Stand Fast on your right click. These two abilities are the staple of the Lancer class and you should get very familiar with them and get their rhythm down. "Rhythm?", you ask? Yes, rhythm. Every class has a rhythm that is created when using their abilities. By rhythm, I mean the timing between each combo attack, the timing on your Stand Fast skill and more. For now, let's take a closer look at these abilities.
Combo Attack I says that you attack the enemies in front of you and do more damage for each repeated attack. The "in front of you" part of this ability can be a bit misleading. The only enemies that get hit are the ones directly in front of your lance. The lance has to be able to "pierce" them in order to do damage. You'll notice that the ability does more power each time it is used. It is important that when you do use your combo attack, you try your best to land all 3 attacks. Your mana regeneration is based on the amount of damage you deal, and while it doesn't seem like 3 points difference each time doesn't seem like a lot, it seems like a lot when you're looking at all the mana you got back with 3 attacks as opposed to just one.
Note:It's important to get the rhythm down on this ability. The first two attacks go relatively quick, but the third takes nearly twice as long. Don't be in a rush and start using other abilities while you're in mid-swing of this third strike. If you do, you're cutting off threat generation, mana regeneration and even increasing the time it takes to use your next ability.
Stand Fast says that as long as you hold down the button, you will absorb attacks coming from in front of you and will reduce the damage to party members behind you. There are several important things to keep in mind when using this ability. Using the ability (at rank I) costs 100mp. This is every time you hit the button, regardless of how long you hold it. After the initial mana cost, your mana is depleted based on how much damage you take. Because of this, it's important to keep an eye on your enemy and make sure you time your blocks correctly. If you use the ability a few seconds before the actual attack, as long as you have threat, go ahead and hold the ability until that attack does happen. Stand Fast also says that it has a 1 second cooldown and using it is instant. The 1 second cooldown starts as soon as you use the ability, so this another important reason to hold the ability even if you're a little bit early. Calling the ability "instant" is a bit misleading as well. When you use Stand Fast, you do not immediately drop everything you are doing to use the ability. If you are in mid-swing of your third Combo Attack I(or a couple other abilities for that matter), you must get to either the end of the swing or the end of the draw-back for the ability. This is a good reason to make sure you're paying attention to the signals you get from your enemies. Try not to get caught in the middle of a combo attack when the boss launches itself in the air and drops down on you like a sack of bricks.
Threat and Control
This is the most important aspect of your gameplay as a Lancer. To be successful, you must maintain threat on the current target or targets so your allies can beat them down. In this section, I'll cover some of the most important abilities that you have in your arsenal to maintain control of the situation.
Challenging Shout I is your bread and butter for tanking in Tera. This ability should generally always be used on cooldown in any group situation. Through the first couple dungeon encounters and BAMs, you'll find that using this ability and balancing your attacks and stand fast is enough to get by in any situation. There's nothing remarkable or difficult about using this ability, so let's move on.
Second Wind I is your primary way of recovering health without a healer. A lot of people skip over this ability in a group setting, and save it for soloing. In a game with as much action as TERA, it's in my opinion that during a boss encounter or a large pull, you should use it on your own when you get a chance to alleviate some stress from the healer. This ability can usually heal about half of your health pool. Using this ability after you fail to move or block a huge attack from a boss can save your healer a heart attack and allow them more time to heal the other party members. In the end, it's up to whether you can think quick enough to use this -- but I recommend it.
Spring Attack I is a hard-hitting ability that can generate a decent amount of threat on your target if you have time enough to use it. This should almost never be used on it's own, because it takes nearly a second and a half to prepare. At the end of a combo attack chain though, it cuts the casting time in half and hits them for a lot of damage. I wouldn't use this necessarily on cooldown because of it's mana cost, but if you're struggling for threat or have the mana to spare to do some DPS, this should be at the top of your list.
Shield Bash I is a fairly straight-forward ability. I bring this to your attention because it is often overlooked as a form of interrupt or crowd control. If you're in a boss fight with a caster or an enemy that charges, using this ability when their eyes glint can save you a lot of hastle. With this ability on your action bars, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to interrupt a boss ability or depend on DPS to do it. This can also be useful if one of your DPS nuke a target and pull aggro before your Challenging Shout I is up. This ability can be glyphed to stun for a longer duration and I recommend taking it when you unlock glyphs.
I will post more information on glyphs when our glyph builder is complete.
- Learn the rhythm of your abilities and combos. Since some of your abilities can take a while to actually pull off, you must be careful not to cut short any of your important abilities.
- All instant abilities are not instant. Some abilities will not interrupt others immediately.
- Practice timing of your combo attack and stand fast abilities even when not in dungeons. The game is easy at first, but being able to reliably use those abilities at the right time can be difficult if you never practiced before your first dungeon.
- Don't be stingy with your Stand Fast ability! Using this in dungeons after you've gotten aggro on your enemies is much more important than trying to do damage to them. Your healer will thank you.
- Be Elin