This is the second in a series of posts on hunter abilities that commonly aren’t used to their potential in PVE. Last time we looked at Tranquilizing Shot and this time it is Disengage‘s turn.
The tooltip reads:
25 sec cooldown
You attempt to disengage from combat, leaping backwards. Can only be used while in combat.
Disengage is part of a family of abilities including Blink, Charge and Leap of Faith that allow for rapid movement across a moderate distance. Unlike Sprint or Nitro Boosts, it is a linear move that doesn’t permit a manual change of direction once engaged. It is perhaps most like a self-induced knockback; the hunter flings herself backward rapidly and lands where her declining trajectory intersects with something solid.
Its only requirement for use is that the hunter be in combat. It can be activated when there’s no enemy in melee range. It can be used in mid-air. A hunter can Disengage when his back is to a wall or a cliff edge. The ability is free to use it in any combat situation, regardless of purpose or result.
Designers can get away with ignoring pathing issues like this because Disengage launches the hunter but, unlike Heroic Leap, it doesn’t land her. It’s like a pitching machine: the ability throws the hunter with remarkable regularity, but where the hunter lands depends upon where Disengage was activated, what the terrain is like and how the game simulates the laws of physics. Disengage doesn’t care if it’s possible to path to the ultimate landing point or whether the hunter feels like dying; it just puts a body into motion. Fortunately or unfortunately, this motion is subject to simulated gravity. Again like a thrown baseball, a hunter who launches himself off a cliff will travel more horizontally than vertically until game physics deplete the lateral force relative to the fake gravity and the leap declines into a full-on plummet.
Disengaging doesn’t make the hunter a mere helpless dot on a parabolla, though. While in the air, he can still execute just about any command that can be performed while moving. This includes turning, shooting instants, switching aspects, activating Trap Launcher and even firing Steady and Cobra Shots so long as the hunter is in Aspect of the Fox. A crafty MM hunter can actually chain a second Disengage onto the first if she pops Readiness. It’s also worth noting that slow-fall abilities can be used with Disengage’s momentum in-flight to preserve a decent ratio of horizontal movement to vertical movement.
Traps, too, can be dropped midair, but they curiously appear at the point the hunter Disengaged from. Here’s why: as a hunter travels from point A to B with Disengage, the game doesn’t believe the hunter has left A until she reaches B. That is, the game treats the hunter as still being at point A the whole time she’s in the air and only registers her as being in a new location when she lands. In many occassions this detail does not matter at all; however, as Kruf from Paragon pointed out a while ago, it does matter when something bad is happening at point A. If a hunter is Disengaging out of fire, he’ll continue to take fire damage during his entire jump because the game reads him as still being at point A. Likewise, any trap dropped mid-Disengage appears at point A because, to the game, that is where the hunter is standing.
Disengage calculates fall damage based on where Disengage was activated. This is much like Charge in that the ability appears to override any existing movement when used and sends the hunter flying backward the activation point. I believe Disengage itself can be overwritten by other game mechanics, though. I once Disengaged at the beginning of one of Maloriak‘s green phases and his knockback sent me flying much farther (and I believe in a different direction) than Disengage would have.
The preceding explanations translate easily into advice:
- Use Disengage for moving around. The ability doesn’t care if you’re actually disengaging from something; again, it just puts a body into motion. If you look at Kriparrian’s fight videos over at his YouTube channel, you’ll see him using Disengage as a means for getting around. The trick to this is aiming your back in the direction that you want to travel and turning in midair so that by the time you land you’re facing in the desired direction again. Keyboard turning is too slow for this tactic and so mouse turning is recommended.
- If you’ve been curious why raiding hunters take the Glyph of Disengage, this is why. They use Disengage often enough while raiding to make the glyph more appealing than other options.
- You can increase the distance you travel with Disengage by jumping first. Just like a baseball you throw from your roof will travel further along the same arc than if you threw it from your front door, Disengage will carry you farther if you jump first. Frostheim has an excellent tutorial for combining jumping with the previous tip for moving forward with Disengage.
- Because of the way that Disengage resets the calculation of fall damage, a hunter can fall from an otherwise lethal height, Disengage at the last second, and not die. Check out this video for an example. I’ve found this tactic useful for avoiding fall damage during the Temple Guardian Anhuur encounter in the Halls of Origination.
- Don’t Disengage out of fire unless running out of it would take longer than the flight time. Because the game reads you as still being in the fire the whole time you’re airborne, you usually take less damage if you simply sidestep out of the fire.
- At least in casual testing, it also appears as if mobs can continue meleeing you during a Disengage. On the plus side, this means that they stay at ‘point A‘ while you’re flying, buying you extra time and even letting you trap them at point A while you’re in the air.
- Don’t just Disengage. It’s possible to turn and use instant abilities during the flight time. With the 4.0.6 change to auto shots I imagine it may even be possible to fire auto shots while Disengaging, making turning (toward the boss) during Disengages all the more important.
- Be careful where you Disengage. The ability only cares if you’re in combat, not where you might end up.
- For a sense of some of the amazing stunts you can pull (or what a ****ing menace you can be) with Disengage, check out these old world-pvp videos by Danaik: 1, 2, 3, 4.
If you have any additional insights or unanswered questions, please leave them in a comment below.
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