Greatsword is probably my least favorite weapon out of the bunch even in a Power Build. You lose out on a lot in a dungeon using it for most fights (not all). Most fights its simple enough to move in and out of melee so the range on it doesnt matter as much. Greatsword does good damage only when you're at max range. Why does this suck? Because with mirror blade you need to be close to get the bounce for might yourself. Going closer lowers your DPS.
MindStabs damage is so-so it really doesnt do any more then other moves. Greatsword clones are worthless without the bleed trait unless you shatter constantly. Where as staff/sword clones server a better purpose. In dungeons the sword clones are great for boon stripping and its most constant especially if you have more then one up then say mind stab at removing boons. I also feel that the Greatswords phantasm is one of the worst out there for dungeons. It dies fast and doesnt hit as strong as most of the others. Finally, number 5 is very subjective in use and doesnt seem useful in as many situations as other skills are on the staff. I'm just not a fan.
Staff on the other hand provides you with a stun break (amazing in dungeons on fights such as Subject Alpha) it provides you with defensive abilities that still do damage. Chaos Storm not only does great things against enemies but gives you a free combo field as well as giving block to anyone in it the majority of the time. This is amazing for close range phantasms. Finally staff clones and the warlock are great in any build. In most dungeons enemies have a ton of condtions on them anyways since five people are going up against them and even if you're all some kind of power build there will be numerous condtions up. Phantasm Warlock makes use of that take in the power damage and does this all from range.
Does this make GreatSword useless? Not at all and its great for fights where you need to be ranged and cant get into melee range. For example I used it on the burning heart on the CoF. Its rare that I pull it out thought.
I feel Staff and Sword are your best main weapons in the dungeon. Sword gives me boon stripping and invicibility that has saved me numerous times. People also underestimate how good leap is in dungeons and binding bosses and adds. The rate you can do it is pretty good and I'm able to keep things off squishy thiefs much longer with these skills. Offhand choice is personal preference but I roll with the focus usually. Pistol sometimes and I dont really use the offhand sword at all. All 3 are good for certain situations thought.
All in all I feel Greatsword doesnt bring nearly enough to the table for me to consider it in over 90% of dungeon fights. PvE in the world is trival so it doesnt matter what you use. I can see people using it a bit more in WvW as range fighting happens a lot more (running people everywhere and people on top of keeps etc).
Just remember your auto attack damage isnt everything. Phantasms and clones make up a good chunk of your damage as well. Your build also comes in to play here. A Power/Phantasm build will do better with a Staff then a GreatSword in most circumstances.
TL;DR Greatsword is overrated by a lot of people. It's good but other weapons are on par or better in a lot of circumstances.
I actually prefer iBerserker for most trash pulls in dungeon, simply because it is aoe. If I need to single target, that's when I switch to staff or sword and pull out a iWarlock or iSwordman. Also, swapping weapon and running to melee (and even with leap you still need to run from 1200 to 600 range first, plus the leap cast time which is another second) is damage time lost, swapping to staff and forced to wind of chaos for a few seconds is even more damage lost. For fast fight where I'm expecting to kill things below 20 seconds, I just start out in Staff, switch to Greatsword immediately, call one phantasm, wait for it's second attack and blow everything up. Switching in between is really a loss of damage here I feel.
I agree that staff teleport is nice, but... Like I said, I'm having NO problem surviving at all in dungeons even in glass cannon build, and that is one reason why I had to abandon my favourite Sword/Sword combo --- Because Sword #2 and Sword #4 are so seldom used (except for a necessary interupt) that I felt I was wasting them. Now I've used staff alot, my opinion is the the staff, like you were suggesting for the Greatsword, is overated by lots of people --- The damage from the weapon itself is simply too low! So much so that the damage difference between iWarlock and iBerserker doesn't even justify the significantly lower damage from the weapon itself. I mean, it's nice to be able to chaos storm, but chaos armor is not suiting my taste. I mean a major reason that I can pull it off as a pure glass cannon in dungeons is that I dodge lots and I dodge good, I'm not even supposed to take a hit at all. So many times chaos armor, which only gives me a buff (which I can't even predict) upon getting hit, is wasted. For group support (field + blast finisher) chaos armor is also a lot less reliable than some other things, because of the randomness. If I am to support my group, I want to be able to cast a sure protection on them all before an incoming aoe attack, not finding out AFTER they got damaged already that they just received a "fury" from the armor, and the second hit is coming.
For greatsword, you mentioned mirror blade --- In dungeons, you'd almost ALWAYS have a teamate standing in range for a bounce. Each bounce hits for 1-2K, each bounce gives an ally 3 might stacks, and it can also just bounce off between 2 mobs. That's 3-6K damage on a 6 second CD on at least one mob. Sometimes I even run in (you don't need to run ALL the way in, just the 2nd tier of distance) to get the bounce going if for some reasons no other target is in range, and the might stacks on myself EASILY offset the distance problem for Spatial Surge. Mind stab is another 3K crit on 8 second CD. iBerserker vs iWarlock is at most a 2K damage difference every 5 second given only a single mob, and sometimes not even because, well, sometimes you get a team that only has bleed and vulnerability, it doesn't justify staying in staff and spamming wind of chaos instead of mirror blade/mind stab/spatial surge... And Greatsword #5? That's one of our only blast finisher lol, I rarely have it NOT on CD... Water field for aoe healing (happens a LOT since those rangers with healing spring are always standing somewhere near us at range)? Fire field for aoe 3 stacks of might? Guardian symbols for condition removal? Yes please!
Don't get me wrong, I've stated before that Sword/Sword remains one of my favourite set, and I am trying hard to justify my use of staff instead of it. Ultimately I'm using staff for iWarlock, chaos storm and the 1200 range, swapping back to GS as soon as I can. Arguably I can do that with Sword/Sword too but iSwordman, like iBerserker, is yet another melee range (though they DO tend to keep a fair distance away, it's not THAT big of a distance, both of them) phantasm. I'm now having doubts again because, even if I just roll in, do a Frenzy, and roll out, that's more damage than what wind of chaos does standing there spamming... And yes, the sword is amazing in some fights, the immobilize for 3rd boss in Arah for example (immobilize grub and frenzy right after). The staff has its niche too (iWarlock is afterall, a ranged phantasm that stands safely at 1K range, and wind of chaos occasional does some intelligent bouncing, makes me feel better about its low damage --- And yes, one more teleport is always nice, though I can function without it).
Oh and clones, GS clones stack bleed faster than any other clones with my 50%+ crit chance. And most of the time I'm not worried about clones that much because I'd much rather have them replaced by phantasm as soon as possible, and if not, they only serve three purposes: standing there giving me damage buff, distract the mobs for me and my team mates, and being shatter materials. All the conditions (vulnerability, bleed, burn, etc) are just icing on the cake, each clone has its niche so I'm not picky. That being said, GS clones have another interesting niche in positioning --- I can place it far at 1K+ range by dodge rolling or mirror image to keep them alive and/or kiting the mobs from all directions, OR I can generate them through mirror blade, spawn one next to the mob, who will grab the mob's attention immediately and buy us some time. Staff clone can't be placed in melee (unless you run into melee yourself first...) and Sword clone can't range attack.
Edited by CepaCepa, 26 September 2012 - 08:53 PM.