Group Hunting

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Group Hunting makes up the bulk of this manual, and includes etiquette, priorities, communication, and dire situations. In a group, everyone is a valuable member even if their ranks are less than others. By following instructions and making smart decisions you will be invited back to hunts that you might consider above your head.

Group hunting techniques contain many variables, mainly due to the many different styles exiles practice. Also, people all have their own idea of how things should work. It can take months of hard training with a select group before a cohesive unit can be formed because of this. I think part of this lengthy process can be shortened by putting everyone in the same book and the same page, instead of the same page in different books. See Drablak's Fighting Guide for another perspective.

All of this knowledge is held by people who pass it on orally while they are in the hunt, or just before it. There are also no generally known calls other than "North, South, East, West, and Run!" Many people are taught how to hunt particular places and not a general mode of group conduct which leads to each person having to find out about each different person's habits and styles. This often leads to failure in first hunts of these groups.

It all boils down to paying attention, knowing what to do, and having the same expectation from others.

So, aside from being mindful of your words and actions, be mindful of your thoughts as well.

Bastion says, “i just wanted the page replaced with ‘CL tactics. TRAIN MOAR DETHAHAX’”

See 10 Things for Groups for a quick list of tips.

Guidelines for Group Tactics

These are guidelines, not strict rules. Please remember, flexibility is a key to survival. As Maeght wrote: “Do not follow a rigid set of rules. Spawns don’t, and that means you have to constantly adapt your strategy.” Overall these guidelines are tactics and strategies to keep the group alive. There are exceptions to every rule, but without exceptional circumstances these guidelines are tried and true methods that increase group survival and success.

  • Your party controls where you fight a creature or set of creatures. Use this control to your advantage. see Controlling the Combat Location
  • Easy mobility of fighters to get to each creature is the key to a successful hunt.
    • When your party outnumbers the number of creatures: open spaces are your friend.
    • When your party is outnumbered by creatures or being overwhelmed, chokes and tight spaces are your friend.
  • On a lure, stay behind the brick until the critters settle down onto the brick or rod. This will become the combat zone.
    • If you are not the brick or rod, try not to stand in front of the brick rod after a fight.
      • reset positions after a fight, and try not to slowly creep up to a place where the group is fighting at a disadvantage.


  • Focusing on one or two creatures at a time decreases damage taken and increases group survival chances. It also lessen healing time and allows for more experience to be gained in the same amount of time. See Combat Focus for more
    • Charging and Targeting creatures can be led to a spot where the most fighters can attack simultaneously.
    • Chargers and Targeting creatures can be scraped off by leading them to a brick or rod and running behind the brick/rod and staying there until the creature re-targets the brick or rod. See Dropping Creatures below for more details.
    • For ferallers: the closest fighter should stand (in the open if the number of fighters can trap it, or near a wall if not) and wait for the feralling creature to come to him/her, and move to put the creature between himself/herself and the rest of the fighters to trap.


  • Consider where you are standing in relation to other people.
    • Leave enough room around bricks or rods so that lurers, injured fighters and non-rodding/badly injured healers can run around the brick or rod to drop the creature of the brick/rod and avoid bumping into you and falling.
  • Standing too close to another person without reason (healing, S&P, trapping, making a protective barrier {anchoring}) creates a barrier to beneficial mobility.
    • Try to leave room between you and other party members that allow people to run between you, if needed.
    • If you and another exile or two are forming a wall between someone and a place they are trying to get to (either to tag or to flee) then you (and others) are standing in the wrong place.
    • If someone is standing in your way, as above, you should be okay to pull if, by not pulling, it will have bad consequences for the group.
      • Bad consequences include you or someone else falling° which can slow down and hurt the group’s chances of survival
      • If you are being pulled a lot while standing still and not actively fighting, that might mean you are often standing in the wrong place. Pay more attention to where you are in relation of both creatures and others in your group.


°However sometimes falling is an option that can save the group (see Tactical Falling below).

Group Etiquette

Group etiquette is usually learned young, but no manual can be complete without touching on the subject briefly. There are different expectations depending on the situation. There are three general situations during a hunt: rest breaks, casual hunting where no great danger exists, and all out bloodfests where people are falling left and right.

Read more here: Group Etiquette

Overall Group Survival

To survive you need two things - enough fighters capable of fending off most any danger, and healers that are healthy and safe enough to keep those fighters standing healthy. Without one, the other will all fall in tight spots. Do not do anything that jeopardizes a group in a tight spot. An act of foolhardy bravery, cowardly self-preservation or supreme stupidity will look the same when your entire group is lying across the snell and waiting for a rescue.

Familiarity & Best Practices

To be effective members of the group must hunt together enough to not only understand each other members strengths and weaknesses, but how each other person moves while in combat. With players that have hunted together a long time, they can move more effectively because they know what each person will do based on both prior experience with them and knowing how others effectively handle situations. When there isn't familiarity there is general best practices detailed here: Communication, protecting other party members when they need it, and avoiding stumbling over each other are all things people can practice to ensure the party’s survival.

Read more here: Overall Group Survival

Communication

Communication among the group is key to having a successful hunt, especially during a dire situation. The leader, navigator and backup leaders (whatever you want to call them) should all have a firm grasp on the situation at all times and be able to quickly communicate to the entire group their information.

Usually the leader is one with the most experience hunting in the area. Or it might be the one with more command experience. Because of the need for clear communication, there should often be a clear group leader decided on before the hunt begins in earnest.

Prior Notice & Fair Warning

If there is anything coming up that needs clear instructions, or there are any people completely new to the area, take a second before entering an area to explicitly state what not to do and what to expect. If leaving the snell or running ahead would be certain death for the party, that should be explicitly stated. If entering a place needs a pathfinder to exit, make sure to tell everyone that, and to specify a pathfinder to cover—but not block—that exit from other pathfinders. If standing in a certain place will mean that the retreat is blocked if that person falls or for some other reason, make sure to tell people not to stand in that spot.

Combat Roles

Leaders

Leaders decide if an when advancing is an acceptable risk. Most leaders will ask others before entering snells know to be potential death traps if everyone is willing to risk the time & energy, and inform them: “this might end in a depart.” A good leader will recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both their party members & enemies and use them to their advantage. High health and/or detha members make good bricks & rods. Shapeshifting rangers with a faster movement speed and bonus troilus make good scouts, no only for their speed and durability but also for their ability to avoid getting trapped by using their Shieldstone. Champions that can stone form make excellent rods against unbrickable-high darkus creatures, and can buy the party time to heal several injured or fallen members. Blood bladers that can disable can speed a creature’s demise and allow weaker exiles to get tags in for vanquishes.

Secondary Leaders

One person may be designated as the second in command in case the leader falls off snell, or if the leader falls most fighters will automatically defer to the most capable exile to lead them. If the group is large enough, there might be a healer in charge of other healers, while a fighter commands the other fighters. In huge groups the group might split into teams with the group leader heading one, and the backup leader handling the other group.

The second in command should be familiar with tactics, and be able to call changes in tactics while in battle.

Navigators

Last, in wilderness areas a pathfinder familiar with the terrain is appointed the navigator for the group. The group leader and officers may command people in a snell, but the navigator, if not the leader, moves the entire group between snells.

In the communication page there are specific duties for each role in the group that are beneficial to the survival and success of the group.

Guardians

Guardians are usually fighters that spend their time watching for dangers attacking weaker/severely injured fighters, non-rodding healers & mystics. Any person capable of watching for danger and anticipating creature movements can work solo or in tandem with other fights to protect the party when hunts get out of control. Tactics such as telling weaker exiles to “run behind me” or intercepting ferallers are extremely effective in preventing unnecessary damage that slows down a group’s progress & effectiveness.

Read more here: Communication

Stay Tight

Stay close to the group at all times. Unless strategy demands splitting up the group across a snell or more. Only designated scouts should wander ahead. If you are skilled at evasion, know your limits, and are experienced with the area beyond the group, offer to scout it out, and report back any vital info via sunstone or, if safe to do so, in person.

More than one person running ahead is a signal to other fighters to follow, so, unless asked, don't run ahead with a lone fighter if you are unfamiliar with an area, they might be luring. If you are the designated scout, luring is where your ability to survive on your own comes in.

Combat Focus

Part of staying tight is knowing what to attack. Usually it is best to target what the lead fighter or brick is targeting. The idea is to focus damage on one thing at a time so that there are less things dealing damage out on the party. Just as with groups, the more fighters up and active means the greater total amount of damage output. So, with large numbers of creatures, you want to reduce their total damage output quickly by reducing the number of creatures you are fighting.

If you cannot reliably hit when the lead fighter is attacking and there are other creatures you can hit, focus on taking out the nuisance creatures that might interfere with the leader fighter’s hunt strategy.

Control the Combat Location

Another facet of group combat focus is making sure that you fight creatures where your party has the best advantage. If your party is outnumbered, then you want to fight in tighter locations such as chokes to minimize how many creatures can simultaneously attack. If your party outnumbers the creatures you want to do the opposite: fight in wider open spaces so your fighters and party members have easier access to creatures and can surround them. Always be mideful to use space and the location of combat — the combat zone — to your advantage.

Remember, most creature movements are very simple. Place the creature exactly where the most advantageous place to fight it will be, just by moving toward the location, letting it follow you and stopping so it lands exactly where you want it. If luring this means where all fighters waiting can quickly “surround and pound” it to death. If you need to use it to hinder other creatures from reaching the party, you can lead it to a choke point. that way, it is the only one that can attack your group while fighters take turns moving in for hits.

If you see a fighter running away from a beast, he or she might be positioning it, not actually trying to avoid being hit. You will know this because (a) they are strong enough to take more hits or brick it, and/or (b) they move around lot during a fight rather than fighting toe-to-toe. You might also notice those "dancing" fighters always seem to be where the next threat is and tend to be good at luring. If the fighter or lurer will be taking it to where more fighters can attack simultaneously, hang back enough so you do not interfere with the positioning (by attracting the creature or stopping it before it reaches the party), and be ready to pounce once the creature is in position for a simultaneous attack that surrounds it.

If you are not the brick, then you can also lead the creature toward the brick or the rest of the group and drop it so that the party can focus its efforts in one place rather than have 3 or 4 small spread out skirmishes that make it difficult to see who needs the most help. Players are in control of where you fight, even ferallers, so make sure not to run into a place to fight where the creature(s) have the advantage. If you need to, fallback to a better place or push your way through to a clearer (more open) place so the exit remains clear or so people can move more easily if outnumbering.

Dropping Creatures

Often healers and other exiles become the target of a creature that they have no chance of defeating. Unless you are running a creature to give the party time to recuperate or recover, if you run away from the party when being chased (especially by a creature faster than you), you run a greater risk of falling and getting separated, so stay tight. Running away can even make the party need to adjust to compensate for your bad decision, and it can weaken the overall strategy. In those cases learn how to drop the creature onto the party brick. Drablak’s Illustration of Dropping available in his Dropping Section of his Fighting page covers the topic well. Basically, you run the creature into the brick by running past the brick and turning to place the brick between you and the brick. If the creature does not get cut off, and refocus on the brick, simply orbit the brick , trying to place the brick in the pursuing creature’s path.

Getting Separated

If forced to run away from group, either stay in communication with them, or get back to them as soon as it is safe. Sometimes going back to the group is not an option. If you lead monsters into a group that not ready, then expect the worst. Never lead a monster into a healer unless that healer knows it's coming, is ready, and can take it (i.e. the healer is a rod point).

If you are simply in another part of the snell and see a creature to engage, simply yelling the creature name, “here” or “1” (or some other number) will let out of sight group members know there is something to fight.

“Here” and “Gather” are also a general call for everyone on snell to go to the yellers location— where “here” usually mans there is some creature there, and gather means the group is about to switch snells.

Dead Heroes

In a tight situation, unless you know you can do it with a great probability of success, don't run off to chain someone in an extremely dangerous combat zone — especially if you're a healer and there are still fighters that need to be healed. If you can't take more than a few hits from what's out there, don't chain.

Guarding

When someone calls "Guard," it's a fighter's job to protect those more injured than them self. Healers are the life blood of a group. If all your healers fall the party is sure to die if they're very deep in a dangerous place. The wounded are much more effective standing, and it takes less healing power to get them healthy. So here are some things to do while guarding.

  • Form a Protective Circle — put healthy fighters in front, toward the most dangerous part of the snell.
  • Stay Sharp — now is not the time to go AFK or get distracted. While injured and healing a party is at it most vulnerable because most people are not at full health and many people think the danger has passed so they allow themselves to be distracted when they cannot afford the damage. RL happens though, so give people a heads up if you have to quickly go AFK.
  • Take Hits to defend less healthy fighters or low health healers.

Potentially Fatal Situations

There are times when even the best groups become overwhelmed. At that point don't wait for a leader to call a withdrawal or retreat. Call it yourself, and make sure to go back to the safety of the snell or safe cave you just left.

If you see a larger force than you and your compadres can handle safely and you go attack anyway, you have to watch your health carefully. If you hit 50% Health you have to make some decisions about how to handle the situation.

50% Health

When a group is at less than 50% that means there's some things there that could probably take out the other 50%. The only exception is if there is only one or two beasts left and you have a person or two who can hit most of the time. Other than that fall back or retreat.

Taking a few seconds for everyone to run away will give the healers time to heal everyone, and the fighters a chance to regain balance. In that case you can stop mid retreat and surprise attack them. If you don't get enough of a breather, then keep running until you're off snell or you're ready for another encounter.

Falling Back and Retreating

Have high Detha/Histia/Higgrus fighters/healers cover the retreat. They'll absorb damage that would otherwise be translated into a KO of some of your seriously injured group members. Believe or not, you can even use a retreat as a tactical advantage, and a way to get the wounded out safely. Here's how: The Fallback Retreat

The Fighting Retreat

Remember that hit and run you learned earlier and mastered on the unfortunate kitties and monkeys? If healthy enough, use that on those beast chasing your group. If you and another fighter (or 2) time it right, the higher Detha one can stop long enough for the creature to catch up and swing. This does 2 things: (1) Stopping the creature from pursuing for a few seconds can buy time for the rest of the group to heal up enough so that when you do make it to the group, the creature is closer to dead than the group is. (2) The fighter bricking/rodding the monster's swing allows the other fighter(s) to move in for a quick tag.

  1. One fighter allows the pursuing creature to catch up and make it swing at a spot where the other fighters can quickly strike.
  2. The other fighters tag immediately after he creature swings, and the brick continues running away.
  3. If the creature pursues a tagger, then the tagger can either scrape it off on the brick (assuming the brick knows to run a bit slower to intercept the creature) or they reverse roles with the fighter that took the last attack become the tagging fighter the next round.*
  4. Repeated this process can kill one or two things if the fighters time their attacks accurately enough, with minimal loss of health to the fighters.
  • This spreads damage between 2 or more fighters that might kill a single fighter.

(It is important to know your partner’s timing though. Because of this dependence of knowing your partneters only fighters that have a lot of experience hunting with each other can use a fighting retreat successfully.)

Note: More of these tactics are covering in Tactics.

If Unable to Retreat

If your party is unable to retreat, form a protective wall or circle. This is called Forting. Usually the leader may yell “Fort!” to signal a change from a killing/hunt strategy to a survival strategy. Use whatever terrain you can — including fallen exiles — to help anchor a wall of bricks and rods with injured and weaker exiles protected from harm. The key is to get everyone stable by minimizing the number of creatures that can simultaneously attack and avoid more people falling. First focus on the greatest threat and and controlling the area. Healers who can't rod should drop their attackers on a brick or rod. Bricks should quickly find defendable ground. Support Fighters should assist healers and bricks. Etc.

Tactical Falling

Yes, there is an art to falling besides earning judges' points. In group situations that are turning from bad to worse, sometimes moving would mean opening up a healer you're defending to attack and certain death. You're taking blows faster than the healers can heal them and you know it's only a matter of time before you look like Prue when she wakes up! So this is the entry on tactical falling.

Saving a More Valuable Party Member

This can be a dicey subject. In general, save the healers — but if you're the last fighter standing and all that's left are healers, it's extremely important that you keep on your feet to fend off the monsters. If you're a second string fighter, and a stronger fighter might fall, it depends on whether you could do a better job where you are, or if that fighter is acting in a careless way or ignoring important threats. A super fighter in the wrong place is worth about as much as a newbie in TC. So, when falling choose wisely.

Blocking with your body

If there's a very dangerous beast that could get through an opening your body could block, plug a hole and buy time for the standing, or make a wall next to another fallen to trap or otherwise keep a beast at bay.

This however doesn't work with monsters that can push or pull, but it is effective 95% of the time.

What Can I do while Fallen?

There are only a few helpful things you can do while fallen: Observe other people’s movements, observe creature movements, watch for danger and talk or yell. In some cases you can help yourself and others by watching how people move and monitoring what others are doing. This is so you can learn how people move in combat so you can more effectively work with them. Also, you can see how feraling creatures move in relation to others, so you can more easily intercept or avoid them when you are up.

Also, you can warn people any dangers coming up they might be too busy to notice. Warning fighters that something is sneaking up behind the party can prevent an ambush. Simply yelling “1,” “here” or the creature name will let people know to look in that direction.

If you are fallen without anyone in view, you can yell what dangerous beasts you see around you so the party doesn't have any surprises when they come back for you. Or if there might be someone that can chain, you can yell “clear” when there is nothing surrounding you so they can come and chain.

If you are the leader, or very experienced you can even “lead” the group by giving directions while fallen, such as calling for a retreat or to fort up or for someone to run something while people heal, or other actions. The other group members do not have to listen—even when you are not fallen they don’t have to listen—but you can try to help, and hope others co-operate and use your information to help the group.

How NOT to handle bad situations

If you want the entire party in a bad situation to fall do the following:

  • Go for tags, not kills. If you see a monster on red and one you haven't tagged, ignore the almost dead monster, especially if it's pounding on a healer and go for the tag.
  • Don't retreat back to the snell you last cleared because the chances of falling or getting more of your party members to fall there decrease rapidly.
  • Don't use safe areas, they're for people who want to survive.
  • Run toward the uncleared area of a snell, or even to an uncleared snell to pick up some monsters, then turn around and run back to the group. Aside from the monsters on your snell, if you're lucky, you might be able to lure another five from the next snell back to your weakened group, almost ensuring more people fall.
  • Run right toward an exile who is red, leading a monster into them — especially if its a healer, even if you're white.
  • Even if you're perfectly healthy, if seriously injured people run toward you with a monster chasing them, don't let them scrape it off on you. Run away in the EXACT same direction that they're going. If you're lucky, you'll be able to step in someone's way, long enough to stop them, and let the monster to catch up and kill them.
  • Make sure to scatter your party across the snell in a giant circle by running back and forth leading monsters everywhere, so no part of the snell is beyond the monsters' detection.
  • Yell for everyone to go in a direction that leads to an uncleared snell or lead them there yourself.
  • If you must go back toward a safe area, lead the monster so it cuts off the escape route. Then swing around so you can put yourself between a party member and the exit, with the monster behind them.
  • If you have the choice of falling where it will create a barrier, protecting the rest of your group, and falling just far enough to make a hole the monsters can easily get through, fall so the monster can get through, that way it can kill more party members. Also, fall in such a way that you block an escape route if it's a narrow passage.