They're all toggle powers. They're all PBAoE around someone else. And three of the four are targeted on AN ENEMY. Sonic has the odd man out (and more useful for it). It is toggled on an ally. Because of this, it is much less likely to be dropped unexpectedly.
- Darkest Night: -dam, -acc. Purely defensive. Enemies hit less often and do less damage when they do manage to hit. It is (by default) represented by a black field on the ground.
- Enervating Field: -dam, -res. Both offensive and defensive. Enemies take more damage and do less. It's default visual is a green cloud with red bubbles radiation from the anchor.
- Radiation Infection: -acc, -def. Offensive and defensive again. Enemies don't hit as often, and are easier to hit. It's default visual is a set of green rings radiating away from the anchor.
- Disruption Field: -res
NOTE: One could argue that Sonic Repulsion fits as well, but it's not a debuff. It's a knockback power. Great for smacking the enemies around the edge into the middle so they can be properly mangled, but only in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing.
NOTE: -res is awesome. By lowering an enemy's resistance, you make them take more damage, even if the attacker is at the "damage cap". -Res stacks, though it is also capped, at -300%/x4 damage. Pile it on and watch the bad guys get torn apart like a free pizza buffet at a bulimic convention: Om nom nom spew om nom nom.
AKA Your less-skilled teammates.
Keeping anchored debuffs up and running until a fight is over is key:
- A toggle's recharge time begins when that power is switched off. These powers have have an 8 or 10 second recharge time unslotted, and take relatively long to cast (3-ish seconds for most). Anchored toggles switch off when the anchor dies.
You can take on huge groups and dish out vast quantities of damage when all your enemies are debuffed down to "sickly kitten" status. While those debuffs are down... it's a different story. A group that was going down in a hurry is suddenly sending you all off to the hospital. Not Good.
Ideally, no one will attack the anchor until that anchor is the last one standing. AoE's aren't too picky, so that's unrealistic in many scenarios.
The worst-case scenario is that some ignorant damage-monkey will see the power effects around some bad guy and think "What the heck are they doing?! I'd better take them out fast!" not realizing that the green/black/whatever aura around the enemy was actually A Good Thing.
Who's your bitch?
Anchor selection is dictated by your team, and your anchor's ability to Run Away.
Sonic Disruption is an oddball, but I'd say it'll be right at home on your team's tank, or a scrapper in a pinch. Keep it off that player that just can't seem to rack up enough debt.
For the others, you do not want to pick an enemy that can teleport away. Tsoo Sorcerers, for example, are a Bad Choice. Just about the worst actually... they generally teleport away at the beginning of a battle and return to heal their comrades. Your debuff isn't doing you much good when it's Away, and there's a chance he'll manage to debuff another mob or two while he's gone. Those debuffed bad guys will promptly agro to you and come running.
You don't want to pick an enemy that will croak the first time something hits them. A little AoE damage is inevitable when you've got a clump of wimps ready to be abused. Minions are usually a bad choice.
As to the rest, it's more about skill level/coordination.
- If your teammates hate your anchors and snuff them out at every opportunity, I'd say just don't bother. And either teach them or find a new team. **Ignorance is curable, but stupid is forever. Cure ignorance, avoid stupidity.
- Between "worst case scenario" and "Competent Teammates", there's a middle ground where your teammates act as if the anchor was no different from any other enemy. They'll just go through the mob from front to back, taking them down in sequence. An LT at the back of the pile is your best best. Not as helpful as it could be, but it'll stay up. They'll live through the incidental AoE damage, but won't be a target like the bosses often are.
- If your whole team is Good, then you can drop your anchor[s] on the toughest enemy you can find, knowing it'll live the longest in the storm of AoE mayhem that's about to kick the stuffing out of anyone dumb enough not to be on your your side of the Moral Divide.
- One could argue that you want to drop the anchor on the guy NEXT TO the toughest enemy, so you can take that enemy down first. It's a pretty strong argument.
Anchor's Bane's Bane
Information. If someone knows how helpful that anchor is, they won't attack it (save maybe to whack it on the nose so it'll follow them around).
- Have people read this article. It's helping you right? Point other folks here too.
- Chat. When putting together a pickup team, I often ask if everyone knows how debuff anchors work... if someone doesn't, I'll explain a bit.
- 'll also /t people who are knocking down the anchors and ask them to stop. The ensuing conversation is Often Helpful. Use 'tell', not 'team'. Praise in public, scold in private.
- Macros. I need to set up a new one, but once upon a time I had a macro that would call out a warning and fire off RI. It helped a bit, and went something like this:
/macro ANCHOR team Save $target for last, they're my debuff anchor. $$powexec_name radiation_infection
Using the Anchor
Ideally, everything agroed will be within the area of your debuffs. There are several ways to ensure this happens:
- Fun with LoS: When you break Line of Sight with something agroed to you, it comes running until you're in LoS/range again. USE it.
- Constructive Knockback: Use it to knock baddies into the AoE, not out of it. (I'm looking at YOU Energy Blast).
- Range control: Move out of an agroed enemy's range, and they come running. USE it... like a 12 year old crack whore. Oh yeah! I said it!
If some bad guy whacking away at a teammate won't play along, smack 'em around till they mind ya, and put them in their place: "In the debuff", shortly followed by "kissing dirt".
All too many times, I've seen a tank/scrapper going toe to toe with some enemies, right next to but outside the radius of an anchored debuff. All they have to do is take a few steps off to one side, then their fight goes from "inevitable victory" to "taking candy from a baby"... or "I'm off to the hospital!" to "How'd I survive that?" Just a little situational awareness, and the fights get so much easier.
When to switch it off
Running a bunch of toggles can suck down your endurance all too quickly (particularly if you're running Leadership toggles as well). Darkest Night and Radiation Infection aren't too steep, but Enervating Field and Sonic Disruption are both pricey. I usually end up switching off EF so I can keep RI going when my endurance gets low. RI saves lives, EF mostly ends the fight faster.
The other reason to switch it off is when your anchor runs away. Debuffing an enemy agros them, and you can end up with half the mobs on a map running your way if you don't notice when your anchor runs off. And they'll all be agroed to you (at list until your agro list is full). Ouchy time.
Ignorance is curable, stupidity is forever. Help stamp out ignorance.
Why do you think I wrote this article? Are you cured?