Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Taking 103: Warrior DPS and IAS

Most warriors I encounter within the game, alliance, and my guild, seem to think they must choose between dealing damage, and taking it. They either spec into what they feel is an overwhelming offense, or into something they hope is a faultless defense (sadly, despite their specialized builds, quite often neither is true).

However, it is quite easy to deal damage and take it while on the front line. Now, you may not be as tough as someone who devotes all eight of his skill picks to survival, and you'll never outshine your teams Ele; but you can contribute substantial and vital DPS to what your team is already generating, allowing you to quicker deal with things like bosses, enemy casters, or loose agro.

  • IAS: IAS stands for Increased Attack Speed, and it's the easiest way to jump-start your DPS. Even though the stance says it increases your attack speed by only 33% (which is the cap), that translate to you attack 50% more. That means you do 50% more damage (and gain 50% more adren, steal 50% more life with a vamp weapon, etc). If you were doing 30 DPS before, now you're at 45 DPS, by simply using one skill (which also helps you generate more agro, since you've now become a bigger threat to the NPC).

  • Attack Skills: The place most warriors go wrong. You don't need six attack skills, ever. Even assassins, who are dependent on chaining attacks skills, don't need that many. In general, don't take more than three. If you're tanking, your elite should be tailored to that end (Gladiator's Defense, Defy Pain, Obsidian Flesh, etc). Too many warriors use elite attacks cause they're OMGWTFBBQ awesomesuace on the battle field. Too bad your dead teammates don't agree. If you have to use an elite attack, use one that helps you tank (Dragon Slash is a good example, as it can feed skills like "Save Yourselves!"). Less is more with attack skills. Simply adding Power Attack to your skill bar can give you a boost of up to 14 DPS (which, plus the 45 you already have, give you 59 DPS, which is actually quite good considering). Being able to add you damage to that of your team against tough targets can create shorter battles, meaning that your team has more resources left when it's over, making the next battle that much easier (if you help end a fight even 5 seconds faster, consider how much energy your monk or ele didn't have to spend casting).

  • Conditions: Warriors have the ability to apply almost every single condition in the game, with the exception of Cracked Armor, Poison, Disease, and Burning (and all of these can be found from a secondary profession). Degeneration can be a great boon, especially against high armor targets, or ones that ignore damage (Mist Form, certain PvE only boss skills). Each pip of degen equals two HP a second lost, meaning Bleeding adds 6 DPS, Poison 8 DPS, Disease 8 DPS, and Burning 14 DPS (degen caps out at 10 pips, or 20 HP a second). A W/R running Power Attack, Flail, and Apply Poison could easily net 67 DPS. Deep Wound is even more fun, as it reduces your targets total health and ability to heal (a valuable and often overlooked feature). It will reduce a targets health by 20% (maximum of 100 HP). What most people don't realize is this not only affects maximum HP, it affects current HP. That means an attack that adds Deep Wound can deal up to 100 damage over the listed value, that ignore ALL damage reduction and armor.

Warriors shouldn't ever be relegated to the role of meatshield. Warriors should be mobile little tanks that run around slicing, chopping, and smashing everything in their path, while their team rains down holy hell on their foes. A warriors high armor gives them the unique ability to go deep into the enemies backline and raise hell; an ability that is all to often overlooked. Just today I was running Eternal Grove with a guildmate. Each of us took up defense of a separate ramp. While he engaged the foes with his minions and heroes, I flagged mine to stand guard by the tree, while I ran out and played with the Luxons. At one point I found myself holding agro against a Siege Turtle, three Luxon Rangers, two Luxon Warriors, and two Luxon Elementalists. I killed them all in time to run off and catch the next turtle. All in all, we only lost a single Tree Singer, even when we experienced half a team wipe and Afflicted flooded into our base.

In my opinion, every warrior should be able to do what I did and more.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Two-Fisted Monkey Style

I would apologize for not posting recently, but I spent the time gaming, so I have not regrets. I'll be trying free-to-play MMOs and FPSs, and relaying opinions and feedback about them here. Figured it would be a nice change to me babbling about GW PvP and Counterstrike.

In other news; Youtube has a nasty habit of putting entirely unrelated junk into the "Related Videos" box on the right hand side of the screen. Because of this, I quite frequently end up watching horrible videos I have no interest in. To make matters worse, once I've watched these videos, they end up getting factored into my suggested viewing tab, further flooding me with bad and undesirable options.

le sigh

While browsing MMA videos, a video was suggested to me by the title of "Shaolin vs Ninjas". Ever the ninja fan, I clicked the video, and watched as a single monk owned a dozen or so ninjas, sometimes with their own weapons.

Well, let's ignore, for the moment, that we have ninjas fighting in the daylight. Or, that they are fighting at all, in a head to head contest. As everyone knows, the effectiveness of a ninja in combat is inversely proportionate to the number of ninjas present. 100 ninjas will fail where one would succeed (Ninja Scroll vs Ninja Gaiden). The same holds true for Stormtroopers. 200 Stormtroopers will get their asses kicked by Han and Chewie, but it only takes five Stormtroopers to capture the whole gang.

Damn you Youtube, damn you for spreading these lies.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Guild Wars Update: March 5th

Some changes came down the pipe today, and frankly, ANet hates Rangers. Taken directly from the Developers Updates page:

Read the Wind (PvP Only): functionality changed to: "For 24 seconds, your arrows move twice as fast."
Flail: decreased duration to 1..15 seconds.

Rangers had been outshining spellcasters at dealing damage and could do so while being much more resistant to pressure damage. This made them ideal for spike builds. By removing the damage bonus on Read the Wind, we're cutting the damage they do with each attack, and by dropping the minimum duration on Flail we've made it harder for them to get an attack speed boost without any real drawbacks or costs. (Rangers can't put points into the Strength attribute, so they can never increase the duration on Flail. Warriors who use this skill should be unaffected by this change.)


Ok, saying that they "hate" Rangers in an embellishment to say the least. However, this is the second time they've nerfed key skills in Ranger spike builds (in recent memory). Skills like Sundering Attack and Experts Dexterity have already been nerfed to the point of near uselessness in PvP (they still retain their PvE shine, in all fairness). However, it's kinda obvious what the meta will shift to now (Favorable Winds anyone?).

There is one change that makes me happy:

Disciplined Stance: decreased duration to 1..4 seconds; decreased armor gain to +10.
Defensive Stance: decreased duration to 1..5 seconds; decreased armor gain to +10.
Soldier's Defense: decreased duration to 1..5.
Shield Stance: decreased duration to 1..6.

These stances were originally balanced with 8v8 combat in mind. In 4v4 play, where there are fewer attackers and enemies cannot have as wide a range of utility skills on their team, Monks using these stances have become a problem. We've lowered the durations and armor bonuses to help 4v4 teams fight through these defenses.


I hate stanced Monks. Nothing pisses me off more than a Monk who uses Disciplined Stance and Shield Bash to fuck up melee spikes (granted, while I was pissed, I always conceeded it was legit, since they sacrificed team support for self protection). Granted, my plans to start playing PvP Monks have now been backburnered, but playing Saru just got more fun.

Oh, and finally, a handful of skills that just got buffed:

Shadow Refuge: increased duration to 6 seconds.
Ether Feast: increased Health per Energy drained to 20..65.
Aura of Restoration: decreased Energy cost to 5; increased recharge to 12. Functionality changed to: "For 60 seconds, you gain 0..1 Energy and are healed for 200..500% of the Energy cost each time you cast a spell."
Healing Signet: increased Healing to 82..172.

To split effectively, characters typically need more self-sufficiency than they do when fighting in a big group. With that in mind, we've made a selection of self-healing skills more powerful.


Interesting, I might stop running dual-attunement now, since Aura of Restoration now gives a smidge of energy back (we'll see). Also, a whole new reason to run Tactics again, Healing Signet is now a healing nuke. Protector's Stance+Healing Signet=ftw?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Call of Geneva

I recently read an article where a kid is made to read the Geneva Convention, and adhere to it when playing first person shooters (specifically Call of Duty).

Firstly, I want to applaud his parents in taking an original and unorthodoxed approach to proactive parenting, in the realm of violent video games. Too many parents take a hands off approach to this, and hold the game developers, not themselves, accountable for what their kids play. Kudos.

That being said, other than being a nice historical footnote in the kids daily gaming regiment, the Geneva Convention applies almost solely to the treatment of PoWs and civilians. I fail to see how, if at all, this will impact their sons gaming experience (maybe I simply haven't played the same iteration of Call of Duty that their son plays, and that one allows him to abuse civilians and PoWs). Now, if the article had discussed the boy playing Civilization or Fable, I'd see a direct correlation between the parental concern and the response.

In my opinion, this idea is ultimately a failure, because it does not impress any change in the childs "behavior" towards this video game. Perhaps if their son pick up Turok for the PS2, they'll be pleased to see that he doesn't execute the surrendering bi-ped dinotroopers. Huzzah.

My suggestion; if you're child is entering the realm of online multiplayer first person shooters, focus on his behavior, not gameplay. Place rules on how he talks to others (some of the most vile trash-talking I've ever heard came from 13 year olds). Forbid him from having insulting or vulgar sprays (images a player can paint temporarily onto a surface in game), forbid him from teabagging, corpse humping, or firing his weapon into other dead players.

Other than that, the best parenting option, when it comes to first person shooters, is to not let your kids play them.