So, you want to play a Thane? You’re a tank, a caster: both and niether. You’re a Hybrid. Embrace your Hybridness.
Thane: Midgard’s Tank Mage
You can wear chain and take a hit, though not as well as a Warrior. You can deal melee damage, but not as well as a charge tank. Oh, yeah: you don’t get Charge. You can deal spell damage, but not as well as a pure caster. You can’t heal, unless you’re Horsen and occassionally spam champion heals. =P
This is a basic guide, not an exhaustive one. I haven’t mentioned anywhere in the guide, for example, that Call of a Thousand Storms can really help vs. Elite guards, Tower Captains, or other high-level PvE you may encounter. Well, except here. I won’t mention it again.
Your Role in RvR:
You absorb blows while dealing damage and interrupting. You can assist a tank train, destroy oil with Doom Hammer, fill a ram, MoC interrupt an entire tower floor with your Hammers, zap runners (or interrupt a cluster of casters/healers) with chain lightening. You can also single-target assist casters, and use your single-target insta and PBAoE insta to increase overall damage, or to interrupt. You can use Static Tempest to break up a Hib farm.
And in situations where you can just let your Hammers fly (Command Mjollnir, level 45 AoE spell), a Thane is a sight to behold. I remember the first time I cast AoE hammers. It was the coolest spell I’d ever seen in a game at the time, and still rocks pretty hard.
Interrupts vs. CC & Assist:
This is an age-old argument. Who’s right? Depends on who you’re running with, and what the situation is. I use to run with a BG that would use interrupts vs. Hibs, and CC & Assist vs. Albs. It worked great, except when people couldn’t figure out we were fighting Albs, and would break the CC…. (And, the Albs would then proceed to use their superior casting range and assist us down to oblivion, since they now had mezz immunity thanks to the toon who let AoEs fly prematurely.)
The alliance BG I run with now, uses CC & single-target assist, and will let AoE fly when the situation calls for it (and, it’s announced in vent/TS to AoE). It works great, except when someone (usually a thane) decides they’d rather just immediately start AoEing at max range, resulting in many enemies getting away, the battle going on so long the other Alb BG shows up and wipes us, or ultimately we win, but took us a lot longer than if everyone was single-target assisting (and, prevents us from getting to <where ever> in in time).
If you’re defending a keep gate where the enemy is pouring in, let the hammers fly. If you’re in a tower, balcony of a keep or lord room during a defense, let hammers fly. In open field, make sure you’re following whatever strategy of the folks you’re running with are doing. And, if the BG you’re with calls to let AoE’s fly, get right up in the enemy’s grill before letting them fly. Letting hammers go at max range in open field is not effective.
Not sure what strategy the folks you’re running with are doing? Find out before you go out in field.
As for play style, people will argue there are three. I’ll argue there is one. First, the “Three:”
1. Hybrid–balanced melee and spell casting
2. Melee–emphasis on melee
3. Caster–emphasis on casting
You’re a hybrid. Embrace it.
Want to be a defensive tank? Roll a warrior or valk. Want to be an offensive tank? Roll a Berserker or Savage.
Want to cast? Roll a caster. Want to be a caster with a hammer? Roll a Warlock.
The beauty of a thane, is you can whack stuff with a weapon, and zap stuff with spells. You’re meant to do both, so do both. So-called “caster’ thanes aren’t going to be able to cast 100% of the time, nor should they. Letting your Hammers AoE rain down on enemies is awesome, situationally. “Thanes are mez breakers” is a stereotype that is all too oft true in open field, though.
Shouldn’t I cast in open field? Yes. While many will try to cast exclusively, you may want to join the melee /assist train, and cast when rooted, when AoEs are called for, or to slow down the enemies trying to wilson. Rooted? Single-target cast to assist the MA.
A “caster” thane is one who resorts to melee only when low-of-power or interrupted.
A “melee” thane uses instas to help with damage, but resorts to spells only when rooted or Hammers are called for.
A “hybrid” thane style recognizes the situational need to both melee and cast.
There’s one type of thane: hybrid. Your play style may lean left-or-right, but in the end you shouldn’t deny your hybridness.
Choose a race:
Ultimately, race doesn’t matter: it’s personal preference. If you “play by math,” Norse and Dwarf have the best overall starting stats, and are both good choices. You’ll see a lot of Troll thanes, too. Troll thanes rock. Whereas a Norse or Dwarf may want to spend some RA points on Aug STR, a Troll may want to spend some on Aug QUI. No race should spend any points on Aug DEX, but I’m getting ahead of myself (more on that stuff later). “Hey, what about Minotaur?” Beef is what’s for dinner. Okay, okay, stat-wise they’re fine. But, a cow? This isn’t WoW. Base Stats at level 50 (Stat w/75 in template and fully buffed):
Primary = STR; Secondary = PIE; Tertiary = CON
|Troll||145 (375)||85 (315)||35 (265)||35 (203)||83 (158)|
|Dwarf||105 (335)||95 (325)||50 (280)||50 (218)||83 (158)|
|Frostalf||100 (330)||70 (300)||60 (285)||60 (228)||98 (173)|
|Minotaur||125 (355)||85 (315)||50 (280)||40 (208)||83 (158)|
|Norseman||115 (345)||85 (315)||50 (280)||50 (218)||83 (158)|
|Valkyn||100 (330)||60 (290)||55 (285)||55 (223)||83 (158)|
Where do you put your starting points? A troll may want to go QUI/DEX/CON (CON always good). Other races may want to go STR/CON and then DEX/QUI or PIE, depending on preference, and if their template has any holes in it they need to fill.
STR helps you hit stuff.
CON increases your HP.
DEX increases your defense, and casting speed.
QUI increases your weapon swing speed.
PIE increases your power pool and spell damage.
You can choose Hammer, Sword, or Axe. You’re a Thane, so Hammer is an obvious choice and the correct one. Okay, okay: some will choose Sword for slightly-higher damage output (at the cost of more endurance usage), and back when Malice Axe could only be an Axe, some would pick axe. But, this isn’t 2004. Go Hammer. Embrace your patron god Thor’s weapon of choice.
It’s perfected acceptable to pick a weapon spec based on how a weapon looks. Really. Just make sure it fits into your template.
You can get the Thane Champion Weapon at Champion Level 5 by talking to the king (or, earlier by completing the Champion quests). No, you don’t need to use a champ weapon. But, I mention champ weapons because they’re easy to get, and you can choose a magical ability that is a Heal-over-time (HP, End and Power) that lasts 30 seconds, and can really help. I have a 2-handed champ hammer in slot 2, just so I can use the magic ability. I use it when I switch to 2-hand to smack a caster, and swap in a bruiser when I’m smacking a door.
Many of my thane templates seem to end up with the Frigid Soul Quencher as the 1-hander (10% Arcane Siphon), Doppelganger Arcane Mace (10% Arcane Siphon) or a Pictslayer weapon, or one of the new Epic weapons (Glacial) from Darkness Falls.
Currently, I use the Glacial Thane Hammer, and have the Thurizas Thane Hammer (Champ) in my 2-hand slot, for the heal-over-time charge.
50 SC, 50 Weapon, 28 Parry
50 SC, 44 Weapon, 37 Parry
Have you ever seen a Thane with a 2-handed spec? Yeah, me too: when they were levelling up in PvE. Okay, okay: some folks do play a 2-handed Thane in RvR as “Offensive” Thanes. If that suits you, great–go for it. However, since you can spec in shield, you should really give it a try. Despite the neigh-sayers who cry “the shield nerf makes shield worthless,” the shield is far from worthless, and well worth using. Which transitions us to….
1-Handed + Shield Specs:
50SC, 39 Weapon, 42 Shield, 6 Parry
50SC, 44 Weapon, 35 Shield, 23 Parry
*More Melee Damage in the sense your initial hit will be for more.
**Lower Melee damage in the sense of your initial WACK will be less.
(Sustained DPS will be the same 1-hand or 2-hand.)
There are, of course, intangibles. Maybe you have another toon or three that uses a shield, so you want one that doesn’t. Maybe you found a really-cool looking <whatever> and want to spec <however> to accommodate that. Or Maybe you were once playing as a Luri, and a Troll Thane hit you so hard with his 2-handed hammer, you immediately wanted a Troll Thane to inflict that kind of terror in others. It’s a game. Find a play style that you have fun with it, and go for it. Respeccing is easy if you want to experiment.
Why 50 SC? You’re a Thane. Stormcalling is your defining attribute, and SC50 gives you the following:
Self-Buff STR/CON 75 (no need for Shammy STR/CON spec in the field)
Doom Hammer: Thrown-weapon style, used mostly for destroying Oil, which it does very well.
Chain Lightening: The old RR5, this long-range insta-cast does exactly as described, and leaps from the first target to up-to 5 additional targets (including ping-ponging back to the original target at times).
You notice I didn’t include the new 50SC self spell piercing buff. Yeah, you get it, and should use it, but it’s really not a reason to go 50. Just something folks who think spell piercing is all-that sleep better.
Embrace the shield. As mentioned before, many will say speccing in medium-to-high shield is a waste since the shield nerf. These people are called wrong. While it’s true you can no longer walk through a field of 100 archers with impunity, you can block a lot of attacks against you and a friend whom you have Guarded. To those who say “dual-weilders are rarely blocked since the shield nerf,” I say two things: 1) You won’t face just dual wielders. You also face those with 1-handed and 2-handed weapons. 2) Get over it. Yes, the shield nerf was damaging, but in no way made shield useless.
What shield does:
For each RR or +1 in skill (either spec or item bonus), you gain .5% to block.
For every 10 points in DEX, you gain .25% to block.
So, let’s see what that means. Consider the following:
Norse Thane, zero in DEX at creation, RR5, 75 DEX in template, fully buffed (280 Dex), zero +shield items.
Zero spec in shield: Block Rate 18.25%
35 spec in shield: Block 35.5%, and gain side-stun Mangle (8 second stun)
42 spec in shield: Block 38.75%, and gain any-time stun Slam (5 second stun)
So, is getting Slam worth going to 42 shield? There are two trains of thought. First, the numbers:
Spec 1. 50SC, 42 shield, 39 weapon, 6 parry
38.75% block, 20.75% parry, 51.46% chance to block or parry
Spec 2. 50SC, 35 shield, 39 weapon, 23 parry
35.5% Block, 29.25% parry, 54.19% chance to block or parry
Spec 2 has higher parry, which can be good for parry-style reactionaries. Spec 2 also has 2.73% better overall chance to block or parry. But, you’re loosing the level 42 any-time stun shield style. Is 5-seconds really worth it? In the heat (aka. lag) of battle you can interrupt that Tic, that Healer, that <Whatever> without worrying about position. It’s an extra interrupt that you don’t have to worry about being slightly off the enemy’s side (or back, for the level 23 back stun positional).
Respeccing is easy. Try out different specs. Keep in mind that anything over 50 composite weapon for 1-handed weapon (weapon spec+item bonus+ RR bonus) does almost nothing. Anything over composite 50 weapon for 2-handed weapon, does help. But, again, we’re talking RVR not PVE, so….
The only reason to go higher than 39 in a weapon (for 1-hand/shield) is because you like the style. Want to go lower than 39 weapon to raise your parry? As long as you hit composite 50, feel free.
Like the utility of weapon/shield, but also like the idea of big BOOM with a two-hander? The beauty of Midgard, is you can spec weapon/shield, and swap to a two-hander when you want. Wacking on a caster? Switch to two-hander. Two melee come up to try to peel you off the healer? Switch back to weapon/shield.
For more info on weapon styles, shield styles, and Stormcalling spells, check out the Thane Style Info (weapon/shield/Stormcalling) on the Herald.
Master Levels: Stormlord or Battlemaster?
If you’re running in a small man/8-man, Battlemaster may be the best option, as you can bodyguard a healer and frustrate tank trains. Some consider thanes the best bodyguards, because they can hang back and cast.
Stormlord, is very thane-like, and excels in Tower/Keep situations, especially on defense or when camping a tower/keep.
I change my RAs on my thane all the time. Tons of good ones to choose from. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Long Wind 1. You got this at level 20, right? You need to be able to perma-sprint. LW1+ Level 30 invig pots accomplish that.
Purge, at whatever level suits your play style
Ignore Pain: at least level 2. Higher if you solo/small man a lot, or are too oft out-of-healing range.
Mastery of Focus 2: Help your spells hit, especially your AoE and PBAoE.
Static Tempest: at least level 2, but higher when you get higher in realm ranks.
Augmented character traits:
Aug STR: If you’re not a Troll, you’ll want some Aug STR eventually. Get above 350 STR, and your fine. Get above 370 and you’re golden. Push to 400 if you must. Alf rocks 394 STR, which suits me.
Aug CON: Toughness is more bang for your buck. But, if you have a left-over point or two, feel free.
Aug QUI: If you’re going for max swing speed, you may need some.
Aug DEX: Not worth it. Why Aug Dex on a Thane is a waste of RAs…. Even if you’re a “caster thane,” RA’s better spent elsewhere.
Aug PIE: Will slightly increase your power pool and damage, but typically not used except for the odd point.
MoC: Good for Hammer interrupts. Level 1 is good enough. Interrupt an entire Throne Room in a keep or tower. Not sure why the Official Wiki lists it as useless. It’s far from useless. But, they also have Purge, Mastery of Focus and Static Tempest as “neutral,” and I’d say those are must-haves.
Wrath of Champions: great situationally as part of a bomb group, or to take out those two assassins that keep jumping you at BB.
AoM, Toughness, MoB, MoP, Aug Con for odd points (toughness more bang for buck). Determiniation is nice, but there are so many other things a thane needs.
Dual Threat, MoPain, WP, MoM, (And, Aug STR, maybe some Aug AA, as needed)
Thanes rock. They can be hard (and expensive) to template, but are worth it.