Stagger is a short term physical debilitation which causes interruption to a person or creature's actions. It can be caused by physical attacks or spells, explosions, or even by running into someone.
With lesser enemies stagger is indicated by sudden stop of performed action followed by short "Staggered" animation indicating loss of balance or being repulsed. Large enemies often have few "Staggered" animations - usually depicting great pain in a particular body part or loss of balance - some of which can stagger or even harm the attacker.
Ability and resistance to stagger is measured by Stagger Damage and Stagger Resistance.
A character's or enemy's stagger resistance will diminish with continued attacks - once a threshold is reached, they will be staggered, making them briefly unable to attack, defend, or do other actions.
Each weapon has a Stagger Power value, and the ease of staggering with a weapon is further modified by the skill or spell used. The resistance to staggering can be increased by wearing armor or certain earrings or augments - their contribution to resistance is displayed as a Stagger Resistance value - Character Weight also affects stagger resistance.
- Main article: Blocking ability
Blocking with shields with sufficient stamina will deflect attacks up to a certain strength - if an powerful enough attack connects the block will be broken, resulting in the shield being thrown back, and a stagger like state - however this 'shield break' is not related to stagger resistance, and is not cumulative on multiple attacks - instead the strength of block depends solely on the innate qualities of the shield used.
Equipment and Augments
In general the 'heavier' the armor the better the resistance - with Very Heavy Armor Sets, and Heavy Armor Sets having the best resistances, and the Hellfire Armor Set the best of all. A gold rarified Set of Duke's Clothing has 96% stagger resistance.
- For weapons stagger power increases with enhancing.
- For armor and clothing, stagger resistance increases with enhancing only for leg armor
- For armor and clothing, resistance is generally very similar to knockdown resistance or power.
- For weapons, power is generally identical to knockdown power.
- Clothing and cloak resistances are generally small or zero.
In addition to general clothing and armor, stagger power can be increased by wearing :
- Cursed King's Belt (+50)
- Barbed Nails (+100 each)
- Virtuoso Ring (from +11 to +20)
- Preceptor Ring (from +21 up to +30)
- Master Ring (from +31 up to +40)
Several Augments and earrings improve stagger resistance :
- Audacity protects against stagger accumulation while charging a physical attack.
- Gravitas protects against stagger accumulation while intoning a spell.
- Periphery increases blocking ability with shields.
- Stability prevents the staggering or knockback effect of wind buffets such as from enemy wings, or from Explosive Barrels.
- Stonewall Earring improves both stagger and knockdown resistance at heavy encumbrance.
- Ogre Bone improves both stagger and knockdown resistance.
A few skills and spells increase knockdown resistance.
- Magick Archer's Bracer Arrow / Great Bracer Arrow boosts both knockdown and stagger resistances for the caster and any targeted ally.
- Mage's Spellscreen / High Spellscreen boosts stagger and other resistances of any ally that enters the spell's field of effect.
- Fighter's Stone Will / Steel Will increases Knockdown and Stagger resistance of the Fighter.
- Strider's Instant Reset can be used to quickly recover from being staggered.
- Main article: Blocking
Stagger resistance does not apply to blocking with shields - each shield has an invisible "blocking ability" that is unaffected by armor or other equipment - only the augment Periphery can improve the shields blocking ability.
In general the better the shield the better the blocking ability. In terms of offensive strikes (such as Cymbal Attack) the shield's stagger power is used, just as it would be with a primary weapon.
Stagger and Knockdown
Once a foe is staggered, it is much more susceptible to being knockdowned until it recovers from the staggered state. Attacking a different part of the body to that which the staggering attacks hit is often more effective, but attacking a weak spot is the best choice in most cases.
- Staggered enemies do not take inherently more damage, but they are more likely to receive further damage due to being staggered - as they are unable to defend or counterattack.
- Staggered enemies are not "out of battle stance" - this effect refers to not having drawn a weapon, or creatures struck before they are aware of an enemy.