Battlefield Roles and How to Beat them: Part 1 - Frontliners

In Dargarth, as in most of life, personal skill and aptitude is only part of the equation. Knowledge and awareness are often as important in a battle as swordplay. Understanding a field battle as it’s unfolding allows you to apply your personal skills in a way that best supports your teammates, neutralizes the strengths of your enemies and leverages your own strengths to victory. So today, I’m going to break down the 4 core battlefield roles I see in most field fights, how to spot them, and how to stop them.

Many fighters may fight in different roles throughout the course of a given battle, especially in longer engagements like sieges as they cast spells, get wounded, expend ammo and change loadouts, but in each push, each fighter can only serve as one of these roles at a time.

This role is for players who want to overwhelm their enemies through strong defense, and relentless direct force. Frontliners tend to group toward the middle of a ditching line, in the front of a bridge battle or siege and are usually the first group to make melee contact with an enemy force. While flankers may fleet from side to side and threaten enemies, when the frontline engages, it’s not a threat -- it’s a promise. In Dargarth, this role is usually played by classes with AR4 or AR 3 such as Fighters, Clerics, Paladins and Rangers, though Druids and Rogues can also serve in this role.

For equipment, frontliners tend to favor larger shields for their passive defense, and usually wear armor and wield a blue of some sort. Tower shield and flail is the quintessential load-out for this role, but on our field and in most of west coast foam fighting, a punch shield and a omni-bat is more common. Reaver, with his heavy mix of AR3 and AR4 who uses his physique to push into and overpower opponents with direct force is a great example of a frontliner in Dargarth.

To counter a frontliner you’ll need to use their armor against them, or bring them down with superior range.

In a limited line fight like a bridge battle, Support weapons excel at killing frontliners, breaking their shields with Red strikes, piercing their armor with spears, and using prods and harassment to keep their offensive onslaught at bay.

In open field fights, mobility is a major advantage most other roles have over frontliners. Kite them and make them work to kill you. If possible, leg them and move the fight away from them and use a numbers advantage to clean them up afterwards (make sure you watch out for first aid and cure light wounds though, as most frontline classes have access to some sort of healing abilities). Frontliners tend to be prime targets for offensive spells like Incinerate, Ice Storm, Entangle and Curse, as they often serve as fulcrums for their teams, and often aren’t as able to dodge incoming spellballs as more mobile roles.

Grappling a frontliner is a high-risk high-reward counter. Because of their large shields, aggression and quick shield-side footwork can keep you safe against a frontliner as you initiate a grapple and neutralize their offensive capacity, giving time for your teammates to rapidly shed their armor and make a kill. Grappling a frontliner is much less risky when you have a distinct numbers advantage. Something you might want to remember next time one comes barreling into your team in a bridge battle or siege fight.