Recently, a fellow hunter reached level 56 and purchased the skill “Stance: Fleet” (S:F) from the trainer. Noting it’s weaknesses compared to the other stances, (s)he inquired as to the skills use.
After the usual responses about the animation on the skill (which is worth the purchase price, IMO!), the question came re: my use of the skill, as I’ve been one of a select few hunters that has really tested S:F and S:IF in real-world settings… and then talked about it.
For the first part, the actual unimproved Stance: Fleet is exceptionally worthless. Unlike the other stances, it’s not a simple toggle. You must be in-combat AND have focus to activate the stance, the stance consumes focus, and the stance expires when you run out of focus. Additionally, the stance cooldown time for S:F is different and more annoying than the other (3), which means ‘stance-dancing’ between S:F and the others isn’t an attractive option, you’ll be w/o a stance for a portion of time.
For all of this, you gain the ability to have more of your auto-attacks (AAs) land while on the run. S:F also is the only stance that does NOT modify the Quick Shot skill in any way, so you lose the ability to apply a slow in S:S, crit more frequently in S:P, or detaunt in S:E.
All in all, this skill is, for lack of a better phrase, ‘a bucket of fail’ on paper and in practice.
The Improved version, though, unlocked by traiting 5 into the Huntsman tree, has some interesting changes. Most importantly, it does not consume focus simply by being in the stance. Less importantly, it also applies a 10% reduction to attack speed (do not confuse this w/ induction time on skills, it simply speeds up the animation.) This can make your focus skills fire a smidge faster, especially if you combine it w/ Needful Haste (25% reduction) and Legendary Item relics (2 or 2.5% / LI, depending on the tier.)
This means you can zip around, slap a Barbed Arrow bleed on a target, and when running it around, slowly whittle away at it due to your AA’s landing far more reliably.
Unfortunately, compared to Strength Stances slow modification to Quick Shot (which can be improved to a 50% slow w/ the right Legendary Item legacy), or the fact that you can Trap, Fear, or Rain of Thorns a MOB, the ‘kiting’ playstyle is hampered by all of our inductions. You *have* to build distance in order to queue a shot, have it go off, and then gain more distance. S:S’s QS slow (and low cut, if it closes) does this much better/faster than running it around w/ a BA bleed and some auto-attack damage.
… the creature in question is completely immune to slow, traps, and fears.
This, my fellow hunters, is the very, very niche use of I:SF; kiting immune MOBs around, while tickling it to death w/ a barbed arrow bleed, w/ AA’s whittling away. Using trees, rocks, etc, you can keep the monster permanently behind you, while you run around in circles, turning only to reapply the bleed and a few AAs before running the loop again.
This can work versus Mithril Flake droppers, as well as certain bosses, such as Instance bosses.
Again, this is a very, very narrow utility, not worth slotting in regular ‘business’ but useful for those pursuing a specific goal. Should you also pursue that goal, I recommend slotting the Barbed Fury, and using a LI (x)bow with the Barbed Arrow Bleed damage Legacy, and with “attack duration” relics slotted in both LIs to minimize the animation of attack animations as much as possible.
Good luck, and Happy Hunting in Middle Earth!