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How do you stay alive in a dungeon?

mesmer dungeon alive build pve

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#1 Kinzie

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 07:47 PM

First time poster on Guru so bear with me please.

I am not normally a PvE player. I prefer the ever changing environment of PvP and especially WvW in this game.  I have spent most of my time from 50-70 doing WvW and have only completed about 50% of the map and only done 2 dungeons.  Both of those dungeons were horrible for me. I was constantly 1 shot by anything and everything that was in the dungeon and felt like I was not contributing to my group.

My guild is a fairly small group of friends that have been playing for many years. We only have 11 members and getting 5 on at a time is a chore.  We run dungeons with whoever is on at the time.  I think this leads to combos that may not be optimized for dungeon running.  Our regular 5 members for dungeons are guardian, elementalist, thief, ranger, and mesmer (me).  We really don't have many other people to choose from as our schedules and interests don't always coincide with each other.

We did CM last night and for the most part, we all walked out of there having made less money than we had to spend on repairs.  I would not consider us elite or epic, but neither would I consider us terrible players.  We all have atleast a decade of experience to each of us.  

Now to the core of the problem.

What are you guys running for weapons and specs that allow you to not get ownd in dungeons instantly. I had my pvp setup and I am sure that is part of the problem. I had GS and Sc/P because I was trying to stay at range as much as possible.  I was getting hit for over 6k, and my health pool is only 5600. I spent 80% of the time running back to just try and get into the fight before we all dropped to the ground.  

Is it our set up and we are just doomed to fail? If so I can kind of accept that, but I feel like there should be a way for me to atleast stay alive longer than 1 hit from a ranged mob or 2 hits from a melee.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I just want to know that there is something else I can do to help my team out and not just be the epic fail I was in AC and CM both times.

#2 Lastchime

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:04 PM

I run a staff and dual swords these days, compliments the rest, if I need to tank I can, and I give great support via phantasmal defender, null field/phantasmal disenchanter (depends on fight), and either siggy of inspiration, domination or midnight, take root is the typical elite I take (or Time Warp).

I've also had good success in the past running a reflect build (sword/sword, scepter/focus), or shatterer (GS, sword/pistol). There's a dozen ways to skin this cat, just don't worry so much bout stun and stun recovery, focus on movement, evasion and soaking.

Sorry staff swords plays out 0/15/20/15/20, reflect was 0/25/15/20/10, shatterer was 20/20/0/0/30

Edited by Lastchime, 27 September 2012 - 08:06 PM.


#3 gustavxiii

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:10 PM

i've done AC with my warrior.  i bring a rifle for long range and mace/shield to play defensive.  from my experience in AC, i don't feel that any specific group of professions is necessary.  you just need to know what you are doing (like disable the traps, don't pull more mob than you can handle, know how to fight each boss, etc.)  can't comment on what to do as mesmer, but generally speaking, i'd say be patient and play defensively until you understand the dungeon.

#4 Kinzie

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:15 PM

Its not so much that I don't know how to try and stay at range, and kite and try to soak up damage. The problem is I get dropped like a hot potato.

Lastchime, I will give the staff and sw/sw a try next time I think.  I just need anything that helps with survival because whatever I was doing last night, was definitely not it at all. I was just getting ownd when the mobs would look at me.

#5 Ikelos

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 08:18 PM

View PostKinzie, on 27 September 2012 - 07:47 PM, said:

We did CM last night and for the most part, we all walked out of there having made less money than we had to spend on repairs.  I would not consider us elite or epic, but neither would I consider us terrible players.  We all have atleast a decade of experience to each of us.  

Now to the core of the problem.

What are you guys running for weapons and specs that allow you to not get ownd in dungeons instantly. I had my pvp setup and I am sure that is part of the problem. I had GS and Sc/P because I was trying to stay at range as much as possible.  I was getting hit for over 6k, and my health pool is only 5600. I spent 80% of the time running back to just try and get into the fight before we all dropped to the ground.  

Is it our set up and we are just doomed to fail? If so I can kind of accept that, but I feel like there should be a way for me to atleast stay alive longer than 1 hit from a ranged mob or 2 hits from a melee.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I just want to know that there is something else I can do to help my team out and not just be the epic fail I was in AC and CM both times.

While I found them initially annoying, dungeons like AC/CM become fairly trivial once you understand why you're dying.

The thing about dungeons is you can very rarely just take damage and expect to get away with it, if you are being targeted by anything other than the weakest mob you should either be spamming protective boons on yourself, kiting, dodging, or some combination of such.

For a specific example, in CM story there is a sniper-type mob that has the property "deals extra damage to moving targets". If you are moving when they shoot you, you will die. However, you will eventually notice that there is a targeting circle around you when they are about to shoot you, which you can prepare for in numerous ways as long as you see it coming.

The only other really difficult part of CM story is the initial golem fight. The main thing that will kill you there is the missiles launched from the golem, which you can avoid either via abusing line of sight, dodging, or some other creative solution.

As mesmers, we naturally excel at ranged denial. Feedback and Warden (from Focus) are both excellent abilities that especially shine in CM where there are a lot of annoying ranged mobs.

Ultimately I think it comes down to knowing what is coming; i.e. actually learning how to beat the dungeon. Each time your party wipes you should evaluate what you could've done differently. Of course, there are certain situations that will just be really hard, but there are usually ways to make it less suck with planning.

Edited by Ikelos, 27 September 2012 - 08:20 PM.


#6 RyuujinZERO

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 02:24 AM

After running dungeons with a few guilds, I've found it's more down to team composition and their personal skill and co-ordination than anything. Being good at your class goes a long way to staying alive. But unless you entire team is playing well you may only be delaying the inevitable in which case no strategy on earth is going to keep you alive long enough to solo a champion and elite adds.

Likewise, you do need a player or two who can hold their ground like a warrior or guardian (Even a couple of thieves or rangers will do) since it goes a long way to reduce scattering making it quicker to kill mobs and you're less likely to get a knife in the kidneys off a straggler who got past your field of view.

The most striking difference I noticed is with player background. "Casual MMO players", especially ones coming from "that other MMO", but also GW1 veterans struggle to adapt to the dungeon format in GW2 because they seem to be used to doing stuff by rote, and following pre-existing routines. Yet in my guild we have a few players who are former progression guild members back in WoW and it's clones, and we cleared dungeons on our first attempt,better than other teams I've played with who already knew the dungeon due to their better strategic discipline and experience thinking outside the box.

Edited by RyuujinZERO, 28 September 2012 - 02:25 AM.


#7 lujate

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 05:51 PM

I subscribe to the, "a rolling stone gathers no moss" philosophy.  I run Staff and Scepter/Focus and try to never stop moving.

The four newest videos on my YouTube channel are from my guild's second dungeon run (our first run was short handed, and ended badly).

#8 Kaawn

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 06:07 PM

View Postlujate, on 28 September 2012 - 05:51 PM, said:

I subscribe to the, "a rolling stone gathers no moss" philosophy.  I run Staff and Scepter/Focus and try to never stop moving.

The four newest videos on my YouTube channel are from my guild's second dungeon run (our first run was short handed, and ended badly).

This here. Never ever stop moving! Except for those Snipers.. gawds those guys pwn!  =P

Make sure you get at least 10 (I prefer more) in whatever gives you toughness & health. (I believe you're squishy like my Ele).  Or put it on your armor/trinkets, somewhere!  =)   I'm nervous enough with only a 12k health pool and am striving for more.

The guys I run with choose a different alt to play with almost every night, understanding what's about to happen in a fight and taking control of it is all you need to succeed.

#9 Piellar

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 06:08 PM

I run dungeons with my friends as a mesmer (they are warrior, elementalist, engineer and thief respectively), and we've had pretty good success once we got used to playing together. We've completed all AC explorable paths, and it's been steadily easier with practice as a team. Any of the following helped a lot, and it could help you too :
  • Call targets with Ctrl+T, everyone should focus that target down;
  • Immediately notice your party when you're down; Immediately assist a downed person, but be smart (use a Feedback bubble before you start if it'll protect you, or use Decoy to have some free reviving time); Your camera should always be looking at nearby enemies while you're reviving, and you should disengage and dodge as required; It helps nobody if you become downed too;
  • Thief, mesmer and hammer warrior (or guardian) together can effectively lock down a champion (even with anti-CC stacks) by calling their turn for a dazes/knockdown/etc. Of course, voice over IP is a huge help here;
  • Engineer and Elementalist should be able to AoE-kite groups of weak mobs on "Protect the NPC" events. Classes not so good at AoE (mesmer, thief) should focus on completing other objectives (destroy burrows, pull trap chains, etc).
That's for general behavior. As for gear, I always had some measure of vitality and toughness somewhere in my armor or jewels, no matter the build. It affords you a mistake or two that a pure offensive setup won't. You should only remove survivability once you are confident in your ability to avoid blows.

My favourite build is a 20/0/0/20/30 confusion+shatter build using Scepter/Torch as a main and Staff as a secondary when I need more defense. Stats are mostly Carrion (Condition Damage, Power, Vitality). I took the Confusion on Blind trait and make liberal use of The Prestige and often spend the Scepter's Block to make that Blind Line instead. They'll miss your friends on their next attack AND will hurt themselves, that's a pretty good deal! Another fun combo is doing a Chaos Storm, then swapping to torch and doing a Prestige in it : Chaos Armor to everyone, Blind and Confusion to all enemies, and you're invisible and lost all aggro. =D

I would agree that Illusionary Mage could use a little buff in what he does (I use him as shatter fodder after his first bouncing spell), but with the Torch talent (Dom. 20) summoning him also removes one condition. With two weapon skills that remove conditions, you can save your Null Field for when your friends need it most. My most commonly used utilities in dungeons are Feedback, Mantra of Distraction and Blink. Time Warp is never a bad choice.

I personnally don't like Glamour traits because I think using glamours for their primary purpose is more important (that and I don't like being narrowed down to 3 utility skills).

Edited by Piellar, 28 September 2012 - 06:20 PM.


#10 Boudicca

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:31 AM

Staff provides the most defense you can have on a mesmer.  Chaos Storm and Chaos Armor both grant buffs that keep you alive.  It sounds like you are playing a glass cannon type mesmer.  You may want to spec more into condition damage in PvE, especially since this spec correlates with a higher toughness rating, via traits, which will make you much harder to one-shot.  A-Net also just recently increased the difficulty of CM which is, what I believe to be, the biggest issue you are having.  This is totally out of your control and, frankly, should be adjusted back down considerably.

Edited by Boudicca, 30 September 2012 - 07:35 AM.


#11 Culture Shock

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:30 PM

View PostKinzie, on 27 September 2012 - 08:15 PM, said:

Its not so much that I don't know how to try and stay at range, and kite and try to soak up damage. The problem is I get dropped like a hot potato.

Lastchime, I will give the staff and sw/sw a try next time I think.  I just need anything that helps with survival because whatever I was doing last night, was definitely not it at all. I was just getting ownd when the mobs would look at me.

I lead a guild of Mesmers and the key to staying alive with a Mesmer involves 3 most important things.  I also solo scout in Orr and have done escorts solo in Malchor's Leap (northern part of Orr).

1.  Control, Control, Control.  Although the sword is a powerful damage weapon it's not the best for starting out in really dangerous areas.  Once you are pretty experienced in running high level danger areas where enemies can attack from any direction then you may be able to handle such close range attacking.  I suggest a ranged stance so you can "see and control" the battle better.  Being up close clouds your vision at least until you develop that 6th sense and know not to waste too many hits on one foe before you step back to see what else is coming at you.

2.  Stack toughness.  I use the Superior Runes Of The Undead on my armor pieces upgrade slots.  I also have heavy toughness in some of my trinkets and weapons.  Traits also have a lot to do with it.  I use a lot of clone damage on kill (when my clones die from anything besides shatter they spread conditions and cripple)  this means even when they die from another clone being summoned they still effect all nearby foes with cripple and conditions.  "yes this is true"

3.  Stealth.  I use Decoy, and Mass Invisibility in dungeons at times.  It cloaks the entire party and gives everyone a break from the pursuit of foes.
Decoy leaves a clone which will not only break the pursuit and targeting of your foe but it gives any other foes a target to focus on besides you.
I also keep the Signet Of Illusions on "full time".  My clones can tank damage from the undead in Orr.  I often stand behind my clones until the foe dies in 1 vs 1 scuffles.  The Mesmer is an excellent class and it has turned out to be much more effective all around than most thought before launch.  It's still not the class for everyone but it sure is fun.

By the way I use Staff  and Scepter/Focus --- Mobility is very important for a scholar class and those 3 weapons are full of control techniques.

~ CS  Mesmer for life ~

Edited by Culture Shock, 30 September 2012 - 06:33 PM.


#12 Caedanne

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:18 AM

View Postlujate, on 28 September 2012 - 05:51 PM, said:

I subscribe to the, "a rolling stone gathers no moss" philosophy.  I run Staff and Scepter/Focus and try to never stop moving.

The four newest videos on my YouTube channel are from my guild's second dungeon run (our first run was short handed, and ended badly).

Same here. I run Sword / Focus + Staff on pve, but change for a scepter in dungeons. IMO, ranged weapons will spare you some headache in dungeons and I have an easier time supporting the team with glamours and interrupts if I'm not very close to the enemy.





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