Shapeshifter Combat (1v1 and Group)

Hey all,

I'm wondering if anyone can give me an idea of where Shapeshfiter combat stands these days, both for duels and for group fights. Here's what I've been able to gather (based on previous experience and reading posts and help files). I last actively played one in 2016 or so.

1) It sounds like there's been some change to how idiocy/plodding is handled as a moss soak and balance/eq lengthener. I can't figure this out. It used to be that you could run both and basically soak up a moss balance while also lengthening EQ or Bal recovery (Moss eq lengthening also worked on the howl that knocked eq).
2) People seem to be saying Bear is still tankiest. I can't see much difference between Brace and Wolf cornering though when it comes to avoiding physical damage. Is the difference that not all physical attacks can be dodged or diverted?
3) I'm struggling with understanding the new jawlock attacks. I understand that Rupture does huge bleeding, Deathroll does huge asphyx (hard to mitigate) damage if you're in water, and that headdrop gives you a way to break someone's head for necklock, but I'm not sure about Gore or Buffet? Basically, what's actually usable?
4) What am I missing change-wise after 6 years of not playing Shapeshifter?

Anything else I should be aware of? What am I missing?

Thanks in advance!


  • KaguraKagura Ironmaw Drilling Grounds
    I haven't used Shifter in PVP, but from the Shifters I've fought, they seem to be focused around devour kills mostly. I haven't seen a Shifter run idiocy/plodding howls in 1v1. The most common howls I've seen are paresis/stupidity/anorexia, to disable parry and get prone, and then focusing on rend/hamstring into destroy/mangles, and into the rips for devour. If the victim prioritizes anorexia over broken limbs and instantly assumes those three affs, then they'll (usually) get out of paresis before you get bal back, excepting the occasional bal recov timing lining up with howls hitting, but there'll be likely to be more broken limbs than they can parry, and you will eventually hit the right destroy and snowball from there. If they don't, then it's happy hour with no parry for the Shifter.

    For groups, Shifters seem to be in demand mainly for their beckon and neckdrag, both of which can turn a fight. Their salve pressure is amazing for limb based groups, of course.
  • AeryxAeryx Docking Nipsy's pay
    Kagura has the right of it. Though being someone who also used to play Shapeshifter back in 2016, on a different character, I would say the three biggest changes I can think of since then is:

    1.) Two rips required for Devour now instead of three.
    2.) Fury triggers now after three parries, instead of two.
    3.) Expose exists and makes damage kills a reality, or at the very least less reliant on the special rips(IE: Deathroll)

    Having played many more classes since then, this time around too, I'd certainly say that Shapeshifters are on the high end of classes that cause immense amounts of bleeding. That too can be leveraged in a group setting with both sides having Templar class now, and hemorrhage as a result. Also, incidentally in group fights, people tend to become prone a lot faster, meaning your claw attacks will do a lot more damage more often due to Expose. Also, combining the bleeding with both sides having the you-cant-clot-at-all entities via Indorani and Oneiromancer means it can add up fast.

    Two rips being required for Devour now means, as a result, its more efficient to go for Devour than it is to use the special rips like Gore, Buffet, etc. I love the flavor of those attacks, but they just seem to be mostly flavor at this point. Hell, even in a group setting, its more useful most of the time to get a Jawlock and just not rip it at all so the person remains prone for the rest of your team.

    I also choose Bear because I do like having more audit over dodging slightly more. That's mostly a preference thing, but I also like having the Lethargy roar/howl because in theory you can use lethargy to hide rend and haemophilia that you can also give.
    Childhood's over the moment you know you're gonna die.
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress Sweden
    edited August 2022
    Quick response from me, as I'm not very good at combat talk:
    1. Idiocy/plodding has taken sort of a backseat to using more salve pressure in order to get ahead faster for rips-devour.

    2. Bracing is a constant, making Bear tougher than Wolf, even if there is cornering. It is even more noticeable in PVE.

    3+4. I've only tested the other attacks a few times (as Wolf), but it's usually faster to go for the normal lock/rip for devour now that they changed to only 2 being required as mentioned above.

    If I had more time, I might have tested some of the other skills more to see if they make things more efficient, but from a first glance that didn't seem to be the case. It's also much easier for a less code-savvy person to manage the usual route.

    Edited to add: Several Shifters in a group still rock 'n roll with quarters. ;)

  • KurakKurak Liaison
    If you are Whaley, Cornering is going to get more milage in PK. Dodge is just more valuable. On howls, I would focus on salve pressure howls. As far as quartering, it is almost never going to happen in large group combat, auto-dispersing is just to prevalent to make it reliable. But in groups you can still get a fair few kills with double jugular on parry being disabled.
  • Thanks for the replies everyone. Much appreciated.

    I think I was a bit off on my estimate of when I last played Shapeshifter. Mac moved to Shallam and Luminaries for a while after Bahkatu.

    Back in the day, devour didn't exist, so the kill route was bleeding due to Jugularclaw. Is rupture and Jugular a valid kill route?

    Two rips to devour sounds amazing but I can see how headdrop makes it easier..

    I played before the paresis/paralysis change. Am I correct in understanding that paresis stops parry but wouldn't allow spinerip? If so, why not blurring/anorexia/stupidity to push salve balance a bit more and reduce accuracy?
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress Sweden
    I have different howls set up, since you can swap with an 8 second howl balance these days, not the longer balance time it used to be. That means you can begin with salve pushing like blurring and anorexia along with impairment, stupidity or other preference to help get your breaks up. Then you can swap to other howls.

  • AeryxAeryx Docking Nipsy's pay
    Yeah. I think paresis, stupidity, anorexia is pretty popular but I also choose to use blurring, anorexia, paresis usually. Less the malus it puts on them but more that it allows you to use Facemaul on them which has to be cured before any existing head damage. I have also tried idiocy and plodding with blurring before too. A lot of it depends on the opponent and situation. Vocalizing is a pretty weird skillset overall. Make sure you're also using your Baying ability when you need to since it lets you do a Howl every 20 seconds on command and off balance. Like knocking them down with Forceful if you only break one leg.
    Childhood's over the moment you know you're gonna die.
  • Thanks @Aeryx @Teani @Kagura and @Kurak

    Can someone explain the plodding/idiocy changes? What used to be nice to raise shifter survivability and decrease opponent healing was deep+dumbing+disturbing, as dumbing would extend the eq loss from concentrating a little. Agreed that it's not as good for pushing salve balance.

    Nice to know about Baying. That wasn't a thing at all last time I played.
  • Oh, and the facemail piece is nice, I hadn't thought of using that to keep head damage stuck. That's a resto cure if they have blurred vision, isn't it?
  • Oh, and can you parry while prone (on the ground, not paralysed) these days?
  • AeryxAeryx Docking Nipsy's pay
    Macian said:

    Oh, and can you parry while prone (on the ground, not paralysed) these days?

    Yeah. That's another change from back then. Fallen gives you prone but doesn't count as prone for parry.
    Childhood's over the moment you know you're gonna die.
  • EliadonEliadon Somewhere Over the RainbowLiaison
    edited August 2022
    HELP PRONE covers these, and AB PARRY:

    You will be unable to parry if you have paresis or become prone (see HELP PRONE). Being fallen is excluded from this list.

    As for Plodding/Idiocy:

    afflict plodding
    Affliction: Plodding.
    Diagnose: plodding with slow movement.
    Cure message: Your body feels free of its heaviness and plodding.
    Type: [ ]Physical [ ]Mental [ ]Venom [x]Random

    Increases balance recovery time by 0.2 seconds. Prevents the primary healing effect of the anabiotic pill when consumed, and will instead cure the affliction.

    Pill: Anabiotic.
    Poultice: Nothing.
    Smoked: Nothing.
    Special: Nothing.

    afflict idiocy
    Affliction: Idiocy.
    Diagnose: afflicted with the mind power of an idiot.
    Cure message: Your mind feels free of its idiocy.
    Type: [ ]Physical [ ]Mental [ ]Venom [x]Random

    Increases equilibrium recovery time by 0.2 seconds. Prevents the primary healing effect of the anabiotic pill when consumed, and will instead cure the

    Pill: Anabiotic.
    Poultice: Nothing.
    Smoked: Nothing.
    Special: Nothing.
  • @Eliadon cheers for the prone/parry info. I'm still getting used to what details are available in help files and AB's vs having to test things to get answers, so thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    I'm not following where the "nerf" to plodding and idiocy that people keep telling me about comes in? It looks like still soaks anabiotic (old moss?) and it still extends balance and eq?
  • As has always been the case in Aet, trust no one and test everything three times yourself.
    Toz says, "Dishonor on you (Mjoll), dishonor on your family (Seirath), dishonor on your cow (Bulrok)"
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