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 Power and Stagger Resistance.
A character or creature's Stagger Threshold is an innate value that, when reached, results in being staggered. Attacking will inflict Stagger damage. This stagger damage is derived from the Stagger Power of the creature or weapon used. Each time stagger damage is inflicted it is tallied up into a total. Continued, cumulative attacks will eventually inflict enough stagger damage to reach the threshold. Once an enemy's stagger threshold is reached, they will be staggered, making them briefly unable to attack, defend, or do other actions.
The Stagger Power of a weapon indicates the core amount of stagger inherent to a primary or secondary weapon. Stagger power can be increased further by equipping certain armor, jewelry and particular Augments.
For an Unarmed human the stagger power is 100 - whilst with a weapon the core stagger power comes directly from that weapon.
The stagger damage inflicted with an attack uses the weapon's stagger power and modifies it by the skills used - and some skills have much greater stagger power than others. Some spells, such as Pommel Bash or Fulmination, have higher stagger modifications e.g., have very high stagger damage outputs.
Enemy Stagger Resistance
A creature or enemies Stagger Resistance is it's Stagger Threshold. When this is reached it results in the foe being staggered. Stagger damage can be inflicted with any attack. Continued, cumulative attacks will eventually inflict enough stagger damage to reach the threshold.
Enemy Stagger Resistance for Large Enemies, may be doubled at the start of every engagement. Akin to enemy Knockdown thresholds.
Stagger damage inflicted on an enemy, unlike that of the party, decays very slowly to a point that it makes little, if any, practical effect on combat.
Enemy body parts also have different stagger vulnerabilities, e.g., a Drake's heart, when compared to other portions of its torso. That is to say, stagger damage is further modified by the body part being struck, striking a Drakes heart will inflict more stagger damage than striking its wings.
The amount of stagger damage an attack will deal to an enemy is also modified by the enemy's stance. Unaware foes will provide a bonus modifier to stagger damage. Other stances, such as when an Eliminator charges, also provide a bonus modifier. Some stances will only apply a bonus modifier to stagger damage to specific body parts. For example, when a Drake attempts to possess a pawn, striking the arm with which it holds the pawn provides a bonus that other body parts do not.
Party Stagger Resistance
Stagger Resistance (a percentage) is the only stat that governs how much stagger damage you can take before being staggered. It works identically to Elemental Resistances. in that it represents the literal percentage of Stagger damage from enemy attacks you resist. Accumulated stagger damage will decay over a short period of time.
Equipment and Augments
|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|
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.
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 can be used to temporarily bestow the "unstoppable" bonus. There appears to be two types. The First increases Stagger Resistance to 100%. The following skills, fall into this category:
- Magick Archer's Bracer Arrow and Great Bracer Arrow.
- Mage's Spellscreen and High Spellscreen.
- Jewel of Antilight. A tool that can be used by any vocation to cast High Spellscreen.
The second variant of this bonus, again increases Stagger Resistance to 100%. But also bestows invulnerability to wind buffets (akin to Stability) and ground shock waves. The following grant this bonus:
- Fighter's Stone Will and Steel Will.
- Warrior's innate bonus. Whenever a warrior is in the middle of an attack, he receives this bonus.
Note that Strider's Instant Reset can be used to quickly recover from stagger.
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 works almost identically to Knockdown.
- 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.
- If an attack, either magickal or physical, is not powerful to damage a foe at all, they will not be staggered either.
- The same rings true for enemy attacks on party members.