KatoZee’s Hunter Rooter (^^,)
CLARITY UPDATE: at the request of a chap on Reddit I am slighty updating this post in order to highlight a few key points for my Xbox breathren. When I created this guide oh so many moons ago, Mod 6-7 was not a surprise to me. I set out to fashion a guide that would cause Xbox players as little disruption as possible, even the priority order I listed stats was thought through so that the changes to life steal/regen would barely phase anyone. This build was mod 6 proofed at time of writing thatnks to the assistane of many PC chaps who tested a few things for me. If you would like to know skill selections please scroll down to the Combat Strategy and read the section for PC chaps, it will contain a link for mod 6 builds there.
For those asking about gearing options, please know that this guide was written to make e undergeared player a force to be reckoned with, anything that you choose to use will help fashion your own unique character. Lastly please accept my apologies as I no longer venture with you, im not the type who enjoys playing games if they are too easy and unfortunately that was what the build did for me. As some of you are aware I still answer questions sent to my GT if you would like to ask them, until then good luck.
My GT is KatoZee and I offer little apology for the text wall I am about to unleash upon your eyes. This guide is long overdue in the eyes of many and will hopefully encompass a great deal of information that I have gathered throughout my travels. Unlike the vast majority of guides out there what I hope to offer you is one that will allow you to utilise it as a base ingredient so that you may add your own tastes to the final product. Should you wish to further consolidate your knowledge then please do contact me and I will be happy to assist you further. The aim is to offer a setup that will make you a deadly addition to any party as soon as you hit 60 without the need for expensive items. This guide is primarily aimed towards the Xbox generation though I have built it to cause minimal disruption for when they receive Mod 6, to which I am pleased to say a good number of PC players are utilising the setup to great success. To become a great HR or any class requires dedication so don’t expect a TL:DR version, “Wisdom is only possessed by the learned”.
Unless you harbour some burning desire to make PvP your sole aim for your ventures across Neverwinter then racial selection will make very little difference in the grand scheme of things. PvE content is very forgiving towards racial selection and even picking the optimum powers/feats, the “pug” community on the other hand not so much. So if want to play as a halfing using feats from all three trees then make sure you are in a guild to run dungeons with, failing that the advisable selections would be the following in order of viability:
- Ability Scores: Grants you +2 to any two stats.
- Dragonborn Fury: Your Power and Critical Strike are increased by 3%.
- Draconic Heritage: You receive 5% more healing from all spells and abilities.
- +2 Dexterity
- +2 Intelligence or +2 Wisdom
- Elven Accuracy: Increases your chance to Critically Strike by 1%.
- Wild Step: You have a 10% resistance to effects that Slow your movement.
- +2 Dexterity
- +2 Charisma or +2 Wisdom
- Darkfire: You have 5% chance when attacking a foe to apply Darkfire for 4 seconds, reducing its Defense by 10%. This debuff does not stack, so if there are multiple Drow in a party, only one debuff is applied to any given foe; however, more than one foe can be affected by Darkfire.
- Trance: You recover at campfires twice as quickly.
Menzoberranzan Renegade ***
- +2 Dexterity
- +2 Charisma or +2 Wisdom
- Faerie Fire: You have 5% chance when attacking a foe to apply Faerie Fire for 4 seconds, reducing its Power and Defense by 6%. This debuff does not stack, so if there are multiple Drow in a party, only one debuff is applied to any given foe; however, more than one foe can be affected by Faerie Fire.
- Trance: You recover at campfires twice as quickly.
*It is not necessary to purchase the expensive dragonborn pack, the 2,500 race reroll is sufficient. Eventually there will be lockboxes where you can get different dragon breaths (I personally want the lightning one).
**My initial guide written a while ago was entitled Drisdhaun AoE build (still on the main cryptic forums), my decision to go Dragonborn was purely cosmetic, my Drow was perfectly suitable for all areas.
***I rate the actual Drow over the renegade since I would prefer to reduce the defense fully rather than worry about reducing its power. Kill them quicker than they can kill you mentality.
Characters receive bonuses from each ability score for each point over 10. The bonuses gained are class dependant and for the HR it translates as the following:
1% Resistance Ignored
1% Stamina Regeneration
1% DoT Damage Resist
2% Maximum Hit Points
1% Damage Bonus
1% AoE Damage Resist
0.5% Deflection Chance
1% Recharge Speed Increase
1% Critical Chance
1% Control Bonus
1% Control Resist
1% Companion Stat Bonus
1% Combat Advantage Damage
Now I ellected to roll my character where both the Dexterity and the Wisdom had the same value and my reasons are highlighted in red from the above information. Whilst having just dex as the main high score the main question is where does our damage come from as a trapper? Its our roots, plus helping our crit chance and further increasing control bonuses create possibilities where so long as you crit with the rooting encounter each second that root applies another crit dot. The longer you can keep that going the better plus there is always the dex artifact belt to help increase the dex cap later on in game.
Leveling and Playstyle
Unfortunately you will not be able to reap the benefits of this build below levels 44/45 where you will pretty much need to play the same way an archery path does (expect a good cardio workout for your character). When you start to unlock the required stuff then you will start to feel overall more powerful.
At this point I encourage you to no longer view your bow as a long-range weapon of destruction and mass aggro generation. Instead always think you are a speedy ninja with a shotgun, the furthest away you should be from a mob is just out of swords reach. This is your sweet spot for optimum damage output, since the power of the HR is in the fact that we have 6x encounters all unique and with their own individual cooldown and not because we have a bow. At this optimum range you lose no time in using either stances encounters and can unleash a constant rotation.
I also please ask, if you are about to say something along the lines of “legolas stayed at range”, I would suggest you watch the films again because in all combat he is close enough to provide combat advantage to the rest of his party and was mostly likely using Aspect of the Pack.
Pathfinder vs Stormwarden
Here is a pivitol moment where you will choose which style of ranger you want to be, it matters very little in terms of end gameplay from my experiences in playing both styles throughout the availible content. If pressed to make any recommendations I would suggest the PvP focussed would find more benefit from Pathfinder whilst the PvE would gain greater bonus from Stormwarden. Each of the paths are equally viable in either content, it is just from my opinion that those recommendations offer more towards those fields than the other. For the encounters part of the guide, it will be written for neutral sake, please substitute the following for the path you have chosen:
Replace Aimed Shot with Hunters Teamwork, rapid fire ability that will help heal the team during PvP, effects not that noticable during PvE as there is usually a cleric. Be warned that Careful Attack can depleat your serpent stacks though applying careful attack with aimed strike is pretty nifty as the bleed triggers the attack.
Replace Rapid Shot for Electric Shot, nice AoE from both stances and will not move you forward in melee stance like Rapid Strike does. For lazy bosses like Spider Queen hold down that trigger and just use encounters over the top to further increase your damage output (against the mobs that gather around her).
Replace Aspect of the Pack/Lone Wolf with Twin Blade Storm, this drops combat advantage for the group in favour of you buffing yourself whilst you can still get combat advantage thus increasing your damage output.
Through numerous respecs I have tried all of the encounters/features in various rotations/combinations on training dummies and general PvE/P combat. Rather than go through all of them I will explain the setup I have found to yield the best results in terms of “sustained” DPS and survivability.
[Left Trigger] Aimed Shot/Aimed Strike
[Right Trigger] Rapid Shot/Rapid Strike
[X] Fox’s Cunning/Fox Shift*
[Y] Constricting Arrow/Steel Breeze
[B] Hindering Shot/Hindering Strike
[LB+X] Seismic Shot**
[LB+Y] Disruptive Shot
Aspect of the Serpent
Aspect of the Pack***
* Warning this encounter can lead to a number of novelty deaths, use cautiously when around other characters that like to push things in any direction.
** The PvP genre may find some benefit with using Forest Ghost Instead, helps get the jump on things and can be used very tactically eg. stealth then use Aimed Shot on something squishy.
*** Again for the PvP genre you may wish to replace with Aspect of the Lone Wolf to assist with survival, since you can’t be certain you will have a team mate around to proc the effects of pack.
Shorthand I have found this to be the optimum rotation in terms of stacking buffs for better damage output. So in true console fashion much like a fighting game here is your combo and note that RB indicates the use of Right Bumber:
[Y] > [B] > [X] > [RB] > [X] > [Y] > [B] > [RB] > REPEAT x3 (is possible to go through 18 encounters before hitting a cooldown.)
If we say each encounter takes one second, you will be able to spam an encounter every second for the duration of the combat, so long as you ensure to hit targets with the offensive encounters, have not been stunned or dazed and haven’t messed up on the your buttons (I do from time to time).
Kato’s Ultimate Finisher
Ranged Stance (with full AP)
[Y] > [B] > [X] > [RB] > [X] > [Y] > [B] > [RB] > [LB+X] > Then repeat previous combo.
IMPORTANT NOTE – Do not play this style looking at your cool downs. I have noticed that the CD bar struggles to keep up with the speed in which you use your encounters. Learn to recognise the animation and when it is triggered move on to the next. This is probably due to lag but sometimes I have switched stances seen them all greyed out yet upon pressing they activate anyway causing the images to update, reflecting that they are actually available.
Lets look into this with more detail now and see a step by step as to whats happening each second of this rotation.
AoE Root + Dot
Biting Snares (activate Master Trapper on stance change)
+1 Deft Strike (damage boost)
+1 Aspect of the Serpent (damage + crit boost)
+1 Aspect of the Serpent
+1 next hit dodge
Master Trapper (+30% damage boost, +60% control duration, +20% AP)
Agile Combatant (damage boost)
Fleet Stance (increased speed)
-1 Deft Strike
+1 Deft Strike (ranged damage boost)
-2 Aspect of the Serpent
+2 Aspect of the Serpent
+ Speed increase (even further)
+ Stamina refilled
AoE Root + Dot (the root effect isn’t refreshed but the dot appears to be refreshed – training dummies)
Agile Combattant (refreshed)
Fleet Stance (refreshed)
This does use up your deft strikes and aspect of the serpent buffs from what I and other trappers have noticed, so always aim to do use it before your constricting arrow.
-1 Deft Strike
-1 Aspect of the Serpent
If you were to utilise your at wills during these rotations it would have an effect on your serpent stacks and thus be wasting them on the lower hitting at will rather than buffing your encounters. To make things simpler so that you don’t have to think to much, you could just spam X, Y, B, RB, X, Y, B etc. It would just mean that your rotation would result in the Fox’s Cunning, non offensive ability will use up your deft strike and one aspect of the serpent effectively wasting those boosts which are better served on constricting arrow.
This rotation I have refined to a point where I don’t need to think to much and can happily just press away, since having overly complicated attack patterns can lead to your own demise. There will be occasions where something will be on a cool down but in that instance its likely going to be another second wait so you could slum it like the other classes and use an at will or just add in Disruptive shot into your play in order to build that extra bit of breather, though 1x Aimed Shot and things are pretty much off cool down by the time you finish.
3/3 Toughness – Increase of maximum hit points, which is nice to have for the survivability though be warned that you are still one shot by pretty much everything.
3/3 Weapon Mastery – Increase your critical chance again something nice because if you crit with your root ability it appears to make all the dots crit as well.
5/5 Predatory Action – Increase of damage for daily powers, you will use seismic shot a lot and some times can recharge it faster than its cool down. I tend to even just use it on single targets given how quickly I can refill the AP.
3/3 Agile Combatant – Increase damage after switching stances, you will be switching stances so often that this temp buff will cause screen burn on your monitor. With the play style it’s a practically a permanent buff you will have.
3/3 Endless Assault – Increase of damage for encounters, since you will be spamming an encounter every second during combat this is of course an important choice.
3/3 Disciple of Dexterity – Increase the bonus damage granted from Dexterity, your primary stat and finishes off your remaining heroic feat points.
3/3 Lucky Skirmisher – Given the remaining options this is the more viable option to throw your points into which brings me onto the next point.
Swift Footwork – you really will not need to regen stamina, hit a group with steel breeze and you are good to go.
Battlewise – reduced threat sounds like a good idea however, it will not work with the build. In fact always play in the knowledge that tanks will struggle to keep aggro from you.
Natures Enhancement – increased deflect severity in melee stance, sounds nice however it only benefits one stance and you won’t be staying in melee long enough to make use of it.
Scoundrel Training – increase at will damage for mobs not targeting you, brilliant concept however, it’s very rare that you will use an at will and even rare that you find something not targeting you.
Trapper Path Feats
5/5 Fleet Stance – Increase movement speed after stance swap and speed is vital to your survival. Having that high mobility in the battle is key to your survival.
5/5 Deft Strikes – Increase the damage of the next encounter use for the opposite stance (melee encounter applies buff to range and vice versa). This is just like a mini Aspect of the Serpent except this only stacks once, where aspect can stack twice. The good news is that they both work together to boost your next encounter in the opposite stance.
5/5 Swiftness of the Fox – Using encounters reduces the cool down of the opposite stance encounter (this is where your damage comes from, the ability to use nothing but encounters constantly on a never ending loop). Each encounter reduces the cool down of the opposite encounter by 15% x3 encounters per stance resulting in a 45% cool down. This is plenty that when you switch stances you will see them all ready to go (see notes in rotations).
5/5 Ancient Roots – Increase the duration of strong roots, from constricting arrow/hindering strike etc (7 seconds PvE, 3 Seconds PvP rough times). On its own this offers great control ability since you have the option to immobilise 10 targets in total. 5 from the ranged aoe and 5 from the melee aoe. Weak roots last 2.5 seconds longer which is nice I guess.
5/5 Thorned Roots – This is the true power of the HR in this one feat, everything you rooted will take 200% of your weapons damage per second for the duration of the root. Solo play you can shoot one constricting arrow at the Dragon Cult chaps and watch them die (its funny, try it). PvP you are rooting someone for the rest of your team to close in and you are still doing damage. TR that can break CC still receive the dots for the duration of the original dot (seen it happen a few times to believe this is the case). What’s even more hilarious is that if things are CC immune, they will receive 250% of your weapons damage instantly, that’s on top of the damage of your initial encounter.
5/5 Serpents Bite – Provides additional damage and crit chance per stack for the class feature Aspect of the Serpent, taking a good thing and making it even better by further increasing the damage and throwing on crit chance as a goody.
1/1 Master trapper – After applying a root, the next time you switch stances increase damage by 30%, control durations by 60% (root/stun) and generate 20% AP instantly. Effect last for 10 seconds and can only be triggered once every 10 seconds. This buff is something you will have almost permanently only, aside from the 1-2 seconds to reapply. This is also why you do not need the AP gain and since you will be using encounters so it recharges fast anyway.
Through extensive testing I have come to the opinion that as far as gearing goes you will want to get yourself 2x Grand Warden and 2x Royal Guard that will provide you +450 to both Crit Chance and Armour Pen. None of the T2 4 piece bonuses are of any particular use to us in this build and the Draconic set looks rather lovely but to lower your overall stats and GS just to provide teammates with +5% AP gain, don’t think they will notice or care.
Royal Guard – chance on causing damage to reduce cool downs by 30%. When I switch stances everything is already ready for my use. Possible Overkill, though in the spirit of testing I found that when you did need it to proc it wouldn’t and I would still be forced to use an at will for a second or two, even when utilised in conjunction with stormstep action you will still face cool downs eventually. Though honestly with the amount of encounters we can constantly cycle through the occasional second here and there is hardly the end of the world and not enough to justify this 4 piece.
Grand Warden – When you crit with an at will you have a chance to deal additional damage with an encounter. I have stated plenty of times you will rarely use your at wills and thus this benefit will be largely under used. Plus its only a chance, not a certainty and trhough testing it was far more frustrating to try and get it to proc as I was actively lowering my overal DPS by using at wills trying to get this to work.
Forest Lord – When you buff an ally, you have a chance to grant them +500 of their highest stat, that sounds rather lovely doesn’t it however, it only procs once every 40 seconds. This is more of a novelty than anything, yet it would be a lovely addition to an archery build that played the role of party buffer using: Comanding Shot + Binding Arrow + Hawk Shot (mod 6 replace hawk shot with Longstrider).
Weapon wise nothing will serve you better than the artifact weapon from the campaign and until then the main hand from the drake vendor is more than enough to serve you through your PvE ventures. Whilst the 2 Piece bonuses gained from either the ancient or draconic sound lovely you will need to remember that your roots deal damage based upon your weapon damage and the artifact bow will far surpass either of those choices and thus increase your roots damage.
Jewelry I recommend the “Shore” set which can be gained all through farming the campaign skirmish. Whenever you get the spare money your main purchases should be purple shirt/trousers that has an enchantment slot available. In terms long term value for money that will give you the most bang for your buck as I believe the expression goes.
Again please note this guide is primarily for the console generation and as such BiS would differ greatly from the PC varient.
Lesser Soulforge – growing rather cheap and from my point of view very little point in upgrading further. At max level it will only give you 5k ish health on revival that will still get you killed by bosses so not really much worth. If you have a healthy wallet feel free. The reason why you will need soulforge is because its a safety measure against lag. Lag free you will hardly ever use it but as soon as it hits you are done for unless you managed to root everything out of arms reach.
Greater Plague Fire – Is my preference for PvE since it adds an extra dot to your attacks and also decreases enemies defenses so teammates will be happy especially since we are one of few classes that can get three stacks on multiple targets very quickly.
Perfect Vorpal – for PvP as the concept of kill them before they kill me is something that always stands true, so anything that ups your damage output would be more beneficial.
For the regular stuff build towards these stats to which I have gained through the knowledge of stats gurus far more adept at the mathematic arts than I am. I have also placed them in my preferential order.
Crit Strike – 2,000 – 3,200
Armour Pen – 2,200 – 2500*
Deflection – 2,000 – 2,200
Defense – 1,600 – 2,500
Regen – 1,000
Life Steal – 1,000 – 1,400
Recovery – 2,200 – 2,600
* if you PvP then push this higher.
Come Mod 6, the manner in which life steal and regen will work has drastically changed and should you want to survive more often I would recomend regen over life steal or else you may find a few DC’s questioning your life style choices when they try and heal you. For right now on the Xbox version life steal will mean you will rarely need to use a potion outside of a main boss fight again. That being said I do not wish to promote a stat that will become deficient and have all that read waste AD on gearing towards that stat knowing it will cost them long term to re-gear.
Augments are the ideal candidates for your main summoned companions at the moment as they lack combat presence and will not eat up beneficial AoE’s from party members, additionaly they will not go off attracting unwanted attention. That being said I will happily say that the choice of augment you use is of your own discretion, you can’t use them in PvP so the concept of Min/Max builds for PvE content is rather academic. Aside from that here are a number of other companions whose active bonuses are of particular appeal to the build.
Slyblade Kobold – Increases damage against Rooted or Stunned targets by +3/5%
Fire Archon – Increases damage against targets with less than 30% Hit Points by +5%
Galeb Dur – Deal up to 10% more damage based on the percentage of damage you have taken
Wererat Thief – On Encounter Use 3/5% chance to poison target – its cheap to get and applies another dot, consider it a seat filler.
Cantankerous Mage – +15/25% Control Bonus
Bonus to control durations is something that you should focus boons and artifacts towards aswell. It will serve you well for the future whereas the immediate future you will not notice much benefit, consider this as an investment should you continue your ventures throughout Neverwinter.
I personally tend to start my combat with the melee stance for low level stuff because I want to draw things into me and max cap with Hindering Strike and move slightly away from the rooted mass just enough for the unrooted targets to draw closer to me, then root those targets with constricting arrow. From there I will circle around to the opposite end of the original targets (via melee rotation) and root new targets on that side, this will create a “bait ball” (watch a Sir David Attenborough documentary on the ocean). Basically if done right you will have pulled all mobs and have rooted them up into an nice compact ball for when the rest of your team arrive (I tend to work ahead of party in lower dungeons, even in CN).
This way other party members can hit their AoE’s for maximum effect and or knock them off an edge (careful using fox shift at edges). The other benefit to you is because if low on health with everything grouped up means one seismic shot will fully heal you. Just to reiterate in Mod 6 life steal and regen are reworked and regen should be a higher priority than life steal should want better healing from your clerics.
Until we get mod 6 with lifesteal your roots will make you godly in terms of survivability, considering as per average we root ten targets at a time. Each root does 200% weapon damage per second and with life steal you gain a percentage of the damage every second. I’m at 924 life steal, from roots alone I get close to 1k health per second as low numbers. This is just from roots remember not using encounters or at wills so rather godly in terms of survivability. I wouldn’t recomend any costly investments into life steal otherwise you may end up needing to make costly investments to change those stats come mod 6, since the numbers correlate to a % chance for the life steal effect to proc.
I have a strong dislike for PvP these days, far too many people thinking they are MLG and have an attitude ironically not found in professional MLG players. That and I can’t be bothered these days listening to the trash talk and receiving hate mail because of the relative ease it takes to defeat someone. But in the interest of testing viability of the build for PvP the setup minus the alterations I eluded to earlier are still very viable but this section is just observations I have noted from my testing and hope that will benefit your endeavours.
Hindering Shot vs Stealth Characters
Hindering shot will leave a double arrow animation on the target for roughly a few seconds, they are close together almost on top of one another. Dark in colour they will fade away after awhile. This is an important visual animation you should get used to spotting.
The reason is because if you manage to hit for example a TR with hindering shot and they stealth, those arrows are still visible and will give away the position of the character. This gives you opportunity to dash towards the arrows and hit with Hindering Strike, the free targeting melee AoE that will bring the individual out of stealth and root, or use any other free targetting ability.
Clear the Ground vs Stealth
Something that I tested recently vs three unwilling TR (thanks for the hate mail). If you believe you have a stealthed TR in the proximity switch to melee and hold down clear the ground. Its a free targeting melee decent radius AoE ability. This narrows the window of opportunity the TR’s have against you.
What I found is the majority of the time I would end up hitting the TR that was trying to use lashing blade? The high crit one, instead of a stun opener. As soon as you hear/see the connection hit fox shift. End result is you just took the chap out of stealth and then fox shift, even it does not connect has granted you immunity long enough for the panicked TR spam his encounters wasting them.
Its not a 100% security blanket but it makes it more difficult and you start to tell the difference between the smart TR and those who think they are MLG. I have no pvp gear nor do I use potions but I was able to win against the three targets regularly and with great efficiency to warrant hate mail.
Forest Ghost and off node fighting
Fighting in the nodes is rather slowly becoming the standard for all skirmishes in pvp, forest ghost and that mentality allows you to stealth when fighting team vs team over one node and move behind enemy lines. It is surprising how few people bothered to turn around but then again in doing that they would turn their back on your teammate. Either way its a strategy that helps limit incoming AoE damage by forcing opponents to decide which way is of higher priority.
Replace Hindering shot with Cordon of Arrows to increase your cc abilities, also change out aspect of the pack for crushing roots and as far as the paragon feats, use all except the one that boosts the paragon ability and the ap gain. It does lower your overall DPS output however when compared to a CW I would quite comfortably say that you can spam more CC encounters at a higher rate to make you one of the top CC clases in the game.
Hindering Strike is still perfectly viable if you would prefer to maintain the high damage output, though from what I have gathered from the various sources is that I may CC play style is favourable considering the nature and difficulty the mobs create across all classes.
For those of you who have taken the time to read and digest this, I thank you as it shows you are truly keen on pushing the boundaries of the HR class. I hope that you are able to assist me in changing the negative stigma surrounding the class and continue to show the true potential of what we can do and offer to a team dynamic in terms of CC/DPS/Survivability.
I started my research into this build roughly two months before the game was released for the Xbox and have practically digested the wiki page along with maintaining a presence across multiple social forums. In my work I would like to thank the following people who have greatly assisted me in my ventures.
Lightitup Dan, Twitch streamer and You Tube informational uploader (though he plays combat HR, the Q&A session I gave him during one stream was beneficial)
Askara1 & heethin from Reddit, there initial responses to my call for assistance prior to the Xbox Launch was greatly beneficial in terms of seeing the same picture from different viewpoints.
j0kerspsycho from cryptic official forums, responded to my initial guide version 1 I posted and helped in highlighting to versatility of Fox Shift. He has since writen a similar guide tailored towards the PvP genre. My tips regarding hindering shot have been incorporated into his guide as it helps remove stealth advantages.
Thank you to all of you that have had some part in refining this build to where it is at, hopefully in time I can continue to evolve the build even further to the point where HR’s are no longer kicked instantly from a dungeon in favour of “better dps”.
Rather than overload the page with constant clips, please just follow the link which will take you to the Xbox.com site where you can peruse through all my clips at your leisure.
No Tank/Healer – I got this setup
The versitility of a trapper is amazing when you get used to it, you often find that the notion of needing a tank or healer to keep you alive is more of a novelty than required. Tanks will struggle to keep agro from you (not their fault) and clerics will struggle to heal you (again not their fault – you try healing someone doing fox shift, I know I have). What of the rest of your party though? The other classes and indeed the players behind them may not share your confidence in them staying alive which generates the need to kick someone, mostly because they don’t want to go through a dozen potions (gets costly) or the prospect of wiping on boss fights.
Well one soloution I have found that seems to work for me is this little setup:
Commanding Shot/Stag Heart + Binding Arrow/Oak Skin + Fox’s Cunning/Fox Shift
This playstyle requires you to pick your shots more carefully, you only have the one rooting ability so make it count. The concept is to create a favourable combat scenario for the team. Have them give you a few moments to attack a room solo, thus getting all the aggro and root a few things, basically the tanking role (though don’t let stuff hit you). Then look towards the healing side of things, stag heart provides a temp HP that you can spam every 3 seconds, if you consider that your healing ability because if you can keep it permanently going during combat then its their permanent health. So you are not adding temp HP but healing their missing HP (works in my mind), next is the notion of oak skin, the increase to defense and the regen it provides (your version of a mini HoT effect). Then there is the free next hit dodge granted from Fox’s Cunning., all of these combine in a manner that will help provide a favourable scenario for your teammates:
Player gets Hit = Free dodge (no damage taken)
Player gets Hit Again = Damage deducted from temp HP, because hopefully the def boost from oak skin will reduce damage enough that it only takes from the temp (technically no loss of HP then)
Player gets Hit yet again = Now damage deducted from a player
That is the scenario that you will try and create, one where they need to be hit 3x before they potentially suffer actual HP loss. Though at the speed in which you can burn through encounters you need remember Fox’s Cunning is a free dodge on next hit that lasts several seconds before it stops. You can use that encounter every three seconds, and stag heart can be used every three seconds so if they are hit rapidly within 3 seconds its not long before you can buy them a breather with another dodge and temp hp to absorb the next hit. When they do lose aggro though the regen bonus/HoT effect will restore their HP.
Now I won’t lie to you, this build requires a hell of a lot more input from our end as you actively need to ensure that you gain the attention of all the mobs, commanding shot is slow to use and you have effectively cut your offense in half since you now only have three offensive encounters. Where can you use this build? Anywhere you feel confident you can pull it off really, I have recently done it on the Epic Lair of Lostmauth when the rest of the group did not like the notion of starting and I could feel the HR auto kick option coming out. I still topped damage/kills chart and the tank even joked that I did a better job of keeping everyone alive than some DC’s.
Why do I do this? Its all a placebo really, when people see that their is a cleric in the group they tend to play more lazy and not care so much when they get hit. No cleric means they forget that they can do it without them if they simply play more alert. You mention that you will heal them and the level of disbelief is there that they play more alert yet see the “healing” you provide and attribute that to your classes potential. That is why I do it, because I am trying to erase the bad stigma and when people who see a trapper perform those feats tend to think twice before kicking another HR instantly without at least giving them a chance.
Either way though it makes for an interesting alternative way to play trapper and can save you should you notice the group hovering over the kick HR button.