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A revisit to the Conditions Thief – Post 80 Synergy Analysis

condition thief pistol/dagger dungeon build

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#1 Larkenis

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:24 PM

I’ve originally played as a Conditions Thief from pretty much 1-80 using Minion’s guide, with great success while leveling.

However, reaching the post 80 game, I’d found the conditions build a little lacking for multiple reasons – largely because Power/Precision builds are more all-rounded for the different activities that one can do at 80, which I’ve detailed in this other thread.
http://www.guildwars...nes-and-sigils/

I switched over to power/precision AFTER crafting my Carrion Exotics (Armor only), so I could say that I did try Conditions at the end game. However, after some pondering, I began to wonder if I did the build justice.

First off, I’m going to commit blasphemy and say this: Shortbow is NOT good for a condition build.

*ten thousand arrows fly towards me*

Poof *shadow refuge* Poof

Now that’s over, please read on.

Death Blossom and Cluster Bomb (AOE Damage)

I’ve always wonder about one thing – most condition builds center themselves around Death Blossom, which is by far one of the best, if not the best AOE bleeding skills I’ve seen. Each iteration of DB, gives 3 bleeds per mob. Shortbow’s (2) gives 1 if the thief doesn’t detonate, and up to 3 stacks if the detonation is perfect. However, DB gives a much longer bleed duration than the Shortbow Detonation bleed. I’m no longer specced in Conditions at the moment, but if you are, take a look at your skill bars and see the difference in bleeding damage between DB and Cluster Bomb.

Thus the question – if it was in terms of AOE damage, in the right circumstances, why would any conditions thief use shortbow over DB? Especially when the most effective use of Cluster Bomb is basically at shotgun distance for speed detonations? The answer is simply – control of your character’s movements and possible convenience during dynamic events, at the expense of damage.

Practical Application
Among the activities that a thief can be doing at 80, the most frustrating thing is probably running dungeons – or at least, the most challenging activity. In a dungeon, it is often that pulls are either a few mobs (possible 3 silver ranking ones) or a mob of normals.

And often, they’re spaced far apart in a fight that Death Blossom could probably only hit one at a time, which hardly seems efficient use of initiative for one target.

What I think most players have done so far, is to either mix a 6 piece Carrion Gear (Condition Dmg/Vit/Power) with either Berserker’s (Power/Precision/Crit Dmg) or Rampagers (Precision/Condition Dmg/Power), so that they can go into stealth and backstab with dual daggers to deal decent damage since they have some crit and power.

This is essentially a condition dmg glass cannon build – comparable to the full berserker gear choice with one difference – this thief has more HP. However, having a larger HP pool with no extra mitigation (toughness) is pretty much worthless – as far as heals go in this game, it is as one poster has stated, ‘delaying the inevitable (death)’.

Some might argue that DB has built in evasion – and I can tell you that a mistimed landing (I have no idea how to ‘time’ a DB landing in a boss fight), will still kill you, evasion or not.

A Balanced Condition Thief – A Theory about Gear

A large part of having a balanced character in GW2 lies in how the player chooses the gear. Carrion gear is pretty much a must for any conditions thief. 6 pieces of armor will put one at about 16k HP. The question is, what are the other pieces to go for?

Full Carrion Armor/Chrysocola Jewellery – This is the highest HP, highest condition dmg combination. However, with no toughness and no healing power, the thief is essentially an ice cube – that huge HP pool would slowly melt down due to the incapability of heals to keep up, while he deals good bleeding damage. Not recommended

Carrion armor/Coral - Second highest Condition Dmg combination. Essentially a glass cannon with its focus half in direct damage and half in condition dmg (why play conditions if you’re going to split halfway?). Meh.

Carrion armor/Ruby – Same as Coral. Some would say it gives you a decent split between bleeding your enemy and backstabbing him for direct damage. I would think that with only half of Berserker’s that crit % wouldn’t be consistent enough to depend on. Imo, a failed glass cannon.
I feel that the problem with all the above, is that it focuses too much on damage. Yes, I know GW2 doesn’t have a holy trinity, and everyone wants to go DPS. The problem is that, using either of the combinations above is more of shoring up weaknesses rather than synergy and survivability.
This is going to sound wacky, but I recommend:

Carrion Armor/Sapphire Jewellery (Healing (main stat)/Power/Toughness).

Obviously, this is not about damage. In fact, I’m pretty sure that your damage will be lessened to a significant degree. I do not recommend this as your first set of gear as fighting solo would take much longer, however, I believe this combination provides the ultimate utility in dungeons, which I’ve said, the most taxing activity in the game imo.

The carrion armor obviously provides the offensive part of the build – bleeds. At a HP pool of 16k, you would have a nice buffer for taking hits due to the wild jumping of Death Blossom. Increased toughness lessens that damage you take, and increase healing power actually means you’d be able to keep yourself healed despite that big HP pool.

In Dungeons – You have a nice HP pool. You have reasonably high healing power coupled with toughness, which in combination with that 16k HP, means you have a very high chance of surviving most screws up in boss encounters, and what’s more, your increased healing power means you revive your downed party members much faster.

In short, you’re that tanky, undying healer, who can still kick ass with your bleeds (although I think that most groups appreciate you for your revival ability rather than dmg, given how much HP every boss has).

Now, the question is how do we make a build that synergizes with what we have?
The answer is in the traits and weapon choices. Remember at the start of the post, I mentioned that short bow wasn’t good for condition builds (obviously, it is still the go to weapon for Dynamic Events). The reason why I said that was because I feel Pistol/Dagger is what condition builds should be using for single targets, with D/D as the AOE set.

Let’s lay down the trait selections –

30 Shadow Arts/30 Trickery/10 Acrobatics
Before anyone starts yelling that I’m crazy for not going for Deadly Arts, hear me out. Deadly Arts, while providing a decent amount of power and increased bleed duration, doesn’t have traits that truly synergizes with a condition build imo.

Shadow Arts Traits

Infusion of Shadow (recovers 2 initiative using a skill that stealths you)

Patience (Regain initiative faster in stealth – 1 init every 3 seconds)

Shadow’s Rejuvenation (Regenerate health while in stealth)

Trickery Traits

Merciful Ambush – creates ambush trap while reviving an ally (which you do quite often in a dungeon)

Trickster – Tricks recharge 20% faster

Hasten Replenishment – Receive 4 initiative while using a heal skill

Acrobatics

Power of Inertia/Fleet Shadow – one is good for a dps boost, another good for mobility, since this build uses stealth a lot.

Other stuff you get:   
  

Stealing gives you 3 initiative.
Increases maximum initiative by 3.
Increases damage by 1% per initiative.


Gain 2 seconds of swiftness on evade.
  

Use Blinding Powder when your health reaches 25% (90-second cool down).
Stealth skills last 1 second longer.
Gain might for 15 seconds when you go into stealth.

In short:

For single targets – (Pistol/Dagger)

You CnD (which costs 4 init due to traits) going into stealth which triggers the following:
1.    Might buff for 15 seconds.
2.    Patience returning 1 initiative
3.    Regen from Shadow’s Rejuvenation
4.    Meld with Shadow (extra 1 sec of stealth)
5.    Increased movement speed (from Fleet Shadow)

Followed by an auto attack from pistol, instantly stacking 5 bleeds. Rinse and repeat, (3) to get away from the mob when needed.

For AOE:
Death Blossom Spam, followed by CnD for you to hide in stealth while they bleed.
Keep in mind that whenever you’re stealthed, you get one stack of might, you’d be healing, and you have a choice to trait for condition removal while in stealth.

Utility –

Shadow Refuge is an obvious choice for any thief – every time it pulses, you’d get one stack of might. You’d heal for a high amount, not to mention that you’d normally only trigger it when your party is downed – healing power from sapphire pieces would mean you revive them much faster.

Caltrops – No explanation needed.

The third slot is a free slot.

Summary
This is largely a conceptual build of how I would play as a conditions thief if I were to go back to being one – I’ve not tested it and I probably won’t bother. Obviously, sigil choices and rune choices would be another can of worms.

The idea of the build is basically to lay out as many bleeds as you can, while being able to take some hits, and retreat into stealth for all of its benefits – which as laid out above, is quite a lot. Sapphire jewelry provides substantial power, which means that 5 hits from stealthed pistol auto attacks would hit reasonably hard too – in fact, as the fight progresses, you’d be hitting harder and harder – largely due to the number of might stacks you’d be getting going into stealth, while remaining a pretty much un-killable healing machine (which would be particularly efficient if you empty your initiative stacking 20+ stacks of bleeds on a boss, and then spend time reviving your party members in Shadow Refuge – giving you all the bonuses above), which imo is a very wacky but effective way to go about building a conditions thief.

Also, I can’t believe I actually found a use for going 30 into Shadow Arts :D

Disclaimer: Please note that this is a very niche/themed build – it will not do well in everything, but rather, it would excel at only one thing – dungeon party play, or the solo world exploration. It would be crap in dynamic events where mob tagging is the priority.

Edited by Larkenis, 01 October 2012 - 03:30 PM.


#2 BabelFish

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:35 AM

Just a question, if you're going for survivability and condition damage why wouldn't you go P/D?

Your auto-attack can sneak attack/apply bleed (in multiples if you sneak attack), you can cripple up to 4 mobs, you can shadow step if they somehow get too close and you still have invisibility.
With proper gear setup you could basically do a Codition Damage/Power/Crit build.

Your thoughts on this?

Edited by BabelFish, 02 October 2012 - 10:36 AM.


#3 Larkenis

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:02 PM

View PostBabelFish, on 02 October 2012 - 10:35 AM, said:

Just a question, if you're going for survivability and condition damage why wouldn't you go P/D?

Your auto-attack can sneak attack/apply bleed (in multiples if you sneak attack), you can cripple up to 4 mobs, you can shadow step if they somehow get too close and you still have invisibility.
With proper gear setup you could basically do a Codition Damage/Power/Crit build.

Your thoughts on this?

I had this in the original post - I did recommended P/D and D/D as the main weapon sets, perhaps it was hard to spot in the messy formatting.

"In short:

For single targets – (Pistol/Dagger)

You CnD (which costs 4 init due to traits) going into stealth which triggers the following:
1. Might buff for 15 seconds.
2. Patience returning 1 initiative
3. Regen from Shadow’s Rejuvenation
4. Meld with Shadow (extra 1 sec of stealth)
5. Increased movement speed (from Fleet Shadow)

The thing about a condition/precision/power build that I don't like, is that precision and conditions do not have full synergy. Power/Crit simply shores up the damage from direct attacks - in which case I'd much rather be playing a pure power/crit build than mix in conditions to dilute the damage.

Imo, if I want to play conditions, I'd want to play a purist condition build - although I'm not sure if it would work out better.


edit: I thought about this a little longer - regarding the choice of adding power/crit gear into a survival - conditions build - in my opinion, the only thing that speaks 'survivability' in the build you propose is the playstyle in P/D (where the key lays in going into stealth, and kiting, things any thief could do in either offensive or defensive gear).

Stat wise, you're essentially still a glass cannon, albeit a conditions dmg glass cannon.

Basically going full rampagers will have the 3 stats you mentioned, condition dmg/power/crit - full glass cannon (conditions style).

Adding any carrion - simply replaces precision for vitality - which I believe is somewhat pointless if healing is not able to keep up, or as one puts it, delaying the inevitability of death.

p.s. I'm not slamming glass cannon builds, I do think that it works out fine depending on playstyle/willingness to die, but rather, I'm considering the possible alternatives to building condition dmg without a glass cannon stat distribution.

Edited by Larkenis, 02 October 2012 - 12:19 PM.


#4 BabelFish

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:19 PM

View PostLarkenis, on 02 October 2012 - 12:02 PM, said:

I had this in the original post - I did recommended P/D and D/D as the main weapon sets, perhaps it was hard to spot in the messy formatting.



Probably more related to my lack of sleep thanks to completing a essay that's already over due :(

Quote

"In short:

For single targets – (Pistol/Dagger)

You CnD (which costs 4 init due to traits) going into stealth which triggers the following:
1. Might buff for 15 seconds.
2. Patience returning 1 initiative
3. Regen from Shadow’s Rejuvenation
4. Meld with Shadow (extra 1 sec of stealth)
5. Increased movement speed (from Fleet Shadow)

The thing about a condition/precision/power build that I don't like, is that precision and conditions do not have full synergy. Power/Crit simply shores up the damage from direct attacks - in which case I'd much rather be playing a pure power/crit build than mix in conditions to dilute the damage.

Imo, if I want to play conditions, I'd want to play a purist condition build - although I'm not sure if it would work out better.

Currently with how conditions work I don't see pure condition being viable unless we're talking PvP. Pretty much all necromancers stack a large amount of bleeds reducing your effectiveness in larger battles thats what has me thinking about a hybrid since if you go hybrid you'll probably be squishy you'll probably either need loads of stealth or a ranged main weapon.

If you were to spec into a condition/power/crit build how would you do it? I'm looking for advice since I'm maining P/D with a P/P as my secondary for the unload spam vs bosses (the headshot is pretty stellar too, body shot is pretty meh though, takes way too long to cast).

Edited by BabelFish, 02 October 2012 - 12:21 PM.


#5 Larkenis

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:12 PM

View PostBabelFish, on 02 October 2012 - 12:19 PM, said:

Probably more related to my lack of sleep thanks to completing a essay that's already over due :(



Currently with how conditions work I don't see pure condition being viable unless we're talking PvP. Pretty much all necromancers stack a large amount of bleeds reducing your effectiveness in larger battles thats what has me thinking about a hybrid since if you go hybrid you'll probably be squishy you'll probably either need loads of stealth or a ranged main weapon.

If you were to spec into a condition/power/crit build how would you do it? I'm looking for advice since I'm maining P/D with a P/P as my secondary for the unload spam vs bosses (the headshot is pretty stellar too, body shot is pretty meh though, takes way too long to cast).

Honestly, I don't recommend speccing into conditions/power/crit, because I agree with you - condition builds just aren't as viable atm in certain circumstances, especially dynamic events where bleed stacking is capped. The problem in being a hybrid is that you make too many compromises, and which results in sub-optimal damage and survivability in most circumstances.

However, if you really do want to do it, I'd recommend either full rampagers (a glass cannon gear choice), or a split between rampagers/knight gear (power/precision/toughness).

Note that there is no bonus on critical damage on any piece, although you'd be critting alot. This is one of the compromises - high crit, with no bonus crit dmg, yields smaller crits than you would on direct attacks as compared with a berserker/knight set up. Which makes me wonder if the high precision is somewhat wasted.


On the other end, going knight/rampagers gives high power and precision, compromising on +condition dmg (knight gear doesn't have any). The upside is a reasonable amount of toughness with a small HP pool which means your healing will be able to keep up better. But like I've said, you compromise on both your direct damage and condition dmg by playing a hybrid:

1. Crits won't be hard hitting.
2. Conditions won't hit as hard either.

However, let's proceed past the gear. I think given the above gear choices, I would in fact spec somewhat strangely -  

15 critical strikes, 25 shadow arts, 25 trickery.

First off, why not 30 trickery? It could give us a nice +4 initiative upon heal, which is really huge. However, given how little initiative this build uses, I think its a nice bonus, but not necessary. I could elaborate each of the trait choices, but it would simply take too long. Here's a summary:

1. Lead attacks with 15 initiative cap = 11 to 15% added dmg.
2. Given how much P/D would use stealth, spec for Infusion of Shadow (returns 2 initiative upon using a skill that enters into stealth), = 4 initiative Cloak and Daggers, a Might Buff upon entering into stealth (hidden assassin), extra second of stealth (meld with shadows), patience (regens initiative in stealth - 1 initiative returned every 3 seconds of stealth).
3. Point of going 15 into critical strikes - opportunist (crit hits have 20% to restore one initiative). Given that autoattack from stealth hits 5 times, the chance of this triggering is extremely high, especially taking your crit chance into consideration.
4. For the critical strike adept talent - I'd go with either side strike (situational), pistol mastery or practiced tolerance.
5. For Trickery, I'd go with Flanking strikes and its a toss up between Initial strike, Ricochet and Trickster, depending on how many tricks your playstyle uses.

Comments: I believe that given how often you can stealth, you'd almost always have 4 stacks of mights on you. Initiative management should come easy with opportunist and initial strike.

Practiced tolerance could increase your HP if required in certain situations.

Misc thoughts - Some might think why not deadly arts for the + duration on conditions? And the 25th point's effect (10% more damage if target has a condition) seems particularly great for condition thieves. I agree. However, out of the tree of Deadly strikes, I only want 2 abilities - exposed weakness and sundering strikes. Going 25 deep into deadly arts just for that seems a waste.

I must admit that this isn't one of the most offensive condition builds out there - in fact I think the damage will be gimped by going for survivability. The alternative is to do the obvious and go full glass cannon - full rampager/carrion armor, 25 Trickery/25 Deadly Arts/15 Critical Strikes, where the only forms of intiative management comes from initial strikes, steal and opportunist.

Let me know what you think.

#6 BabelFish

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:59 PM

I'm liking the glass cannon idea with full rampager/carrion myself. I've always been found of the "kite or die trying" survivability and the massive toughness/armor ignoring bleed daage even at my level is just mind numbing, if it wasn't for the mechanic where mobs 10 lvls+ higher then you are immune to your conditions, take severely reduced damage and you don't get exp from them I'd be in the lvl 50 areas at lvl 36...no joke. So I feel that for me, given my playstyle the condition thief made of glassmay be the best approach.

Any further suggestions based on that?
What would be the best sigils, etc for my weapons? Right now I have this horrible minor corruption. Major corruption seems appealing, hovever. For armor end game goal is the "human" god armor you buy with karma in Orr.

#7 Larkenis

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:10 PM

Sigil of Corruption on your AOE weapon. As far as offensive sigils go, Air, Fire, Mights, Blood all have their pros and cons, all of which are decent for damage. I'd actually rule out Earth given how fast the thief can stack bleeds (one more bleed every now and then from crits feels negligible. For leveling, I'd actually go with a sigil of speed - for convenience rather than offensive capabilities. As it is, I have an extra dagger with that which I throw on for utility - the run speed stacks in duration - using dagger storm in a heavily populated zone racks up about 60 seconds of +33% run speed for me, less when you're not able to use the 10 second rune, but I find the speed buff invaluable.

#8 BabelFish

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:26 PM

View PostLarkenis, on 02 October 2012 - 02:10 PM, said:

Sigil of Corruption on your AOE weapon. As far as offensive sigils go, Air, Fire, Mights, Blood all have their pros and cons, all of which are decent for damage. I'd actually rule out Earth given how fast the thief can stack bleeds (one more bleed every now and then from crits feels negligible. For leveling, I'd actually go with a sigil of speed - for convenience rather than offensive capabilities. As it is, I have an extra dagger with that which I throw on for utility - the run speed stacks in duration - using dagger storm in a heavily populated zone racks up about 60 seconds of +33% run speed for me, less when you're not able to use the 10 second rune, but I find the speed buff invaluable.

That's...digusting that you can stack that...thanks for your help, I've revised my build now thanks tio your help.

#9 Rachmani

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 03:25 AM

This is what I play when I aim for conditions (in full rampager gear) 25/0/10/20/15 and it works quite well with D/D (and shortbow btw).
You get
deadly arts - longer condition duration, weakness on poison for SB & dagger autoattack & and your direct damage goes up by 15%
shadow arts - 2 initiative when going into stealth or, against condition heavy fights condition removal while stealthed
acrobatics - might on dodge, 3rd dodge in a row & 2 initiative per 10 seconds (going from 5.9 to 7.9 is a 30% gain)
trickery - initiative on steal, groupbuffs on steal & 3 more starting initiative
Imo it's a really well rounded build that suits D/D, P/D, SB well and isn't too shabby for D/P either. Especially as D/D you can pretty much use your full arsenal as you have reasonably strong backstabs, strong DB, long duration on cripple and weakness when poisoned. On top of that your initiative regen is rock solid which makes you really flexible, no matter which set you use.

Note, that in our group I kind of play the roamer. We have more specialized characters, too. So this build might not be for everyone. I've cleared most of the explorer modes with it, though. In cases where pure single target damage is needed I also have a berserker set.

Edited by Rachmani, 03 October 2012 - 03:34 AM.


#10 Aeyden12

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:00 AM

Gearwise I'm working towards:

Full Rampaging armor + Undead runes.
Carrion Amulet
2 Carrion Rings
2 Knight's accesoires
+ 2 Valkyries daggers.

So I have some vit + toughness for survival, I have pretty decent damage of both conditions and crit/backstabs, not the best but it works so far.. Do you see the usefullnes of what I am doing? Or do you say I just need to focus on one thing?

#11 Larkenis

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:35 PM

View PostAeyden12, on 04 October 2012 - 11:00 AM, said:

Gearwise I'm working towards:

Full Rampaging armor + Undead runes.
Carrion Amulet
2 Carrion Rings
2 Knight's accesoires
+ 2 Valkyries daggers.

So I have some vit + toughness for survival, I have pretty decent damage of both conditions and crit/backstabs, not the best but it works so far.. Do you see the usefullnes of what I am doing? Or do you say I just need to focus on one thing?

I'd say that crit gear is effective when you stack it with more crit gear and crit dmg bonus. If you with to go with Knights, I'd either pair it with Berserker and Valkyrie, which I detailed in another thread (link in first post).

The thing about it 'working so far' - anything can 'work' at lvl 80. The question is how well it works. The reason why many builds with condition actually seem well rounded in my opinion, is because anything with power generally works for most situations.

I'd even say a full berserker glass cannon is well rounded for most situations - it deals a load of damage in a reasonable short period of time. I'd say that berserker paired with Knight is well rounded. I'd even say that Knight with Valkyrie works in most situations, although I'd think an overdose of Valkyrie gives too much extra HP which is not needed in most situations. Even full Knight gear works out fine if you wish to go that way, extreme armor, low HP, reasonable power, but all that precision is so wasted without a decent amount of +crit dmg.

On the other hand, the more condition dmg gear you stack, the more I find that the build becomes less well rounded. Condition dmg is great, sure, but when you want to stay ranged on a single target boss who could kill you one in blow? Death blossom brings you closer - where you can get hit. Pistol/Dagger CnD requires you to melee, which can get you killed too. The only extremely safe way to handle this? Dual pistols, with the number 3 skill, which is the most effective with pure power/crit/crit dmg.

In short - 'all rounded' builds often are all arounded because of their focus, or half focus in power and crit. Condition gear works well in certain situations, but more so than often, I find mixing in conditions gear dilutes the effect of anything with crit - sure, it can work, but I don't think it works as well as say, pure power/crit/crit dmg.

If you with to play conditions - I'd say either you play pure glass cannon - with full rampagers as option 1, mix of carrion/rampagers as option 2, or carrion/cleric as a support build option 3 (which I don't recommend as your first set of exotics to go for, simply because it's not good for soloing, but excels in dungeons).

Otherwise, just stick with power/crit/crit damage. Bleeding conditions is essentially a playstyle that some favors, either as a survival kiter or just a personal preference. It doesn't deal more damage than pure power/crit builds in most cases, largely due to the HP pool of mobs, or the ridiculous number of players in a dynamic event. In PvP I'd imagine it makes more difference but for PVE, I find it pointless, largely due to the fact that condition gear dilutes the effect of the precision/crit dmg gear, and vice versa regarding condition dmg.

TLDR - 2 pieces of Knight and Valkyrie isn't going to make much of a difference. You have enough HP from Carrion. That little bit of precision isn't going to guarantee crits very often, and when it does, it doesn't hit for much. If you wish to have some toughness mixed in with your huge HP pool, go with cleric. Otherwise, more rampaging pieces - more HP with low toughness and healing power would mean that you won't be able to keep your HP up anyway once most fights start.

#12 Larkenis

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:40 PM

View PostRachmani, on 03 October 2012 - 03:25 AM, said:

This is what I play when I aim for conditions (in full rampager gear) 25/0/10/20/15 and it works quite well with D/D (and shortbow btw).
You get
deadly arts - longer condition duration, weakness on poison for SB & dagger autoattack & and your direct damage goes up by 15%
shadow arts - 2 initiative when going into stealth or, against condition heavy fights condition removal while stealthed
acrobatics - might on dodge, 3rd dodge in a row & 2 initiative per 10 seconds (going from 5.9 to 7.9 is a 30% gain)
trickery - initiative on steal, groupbuffs on steal & 3 more starting initiative
Imo it's a really well rounded build that suits D/D, P/D, SB well and isn't too shabby for D/P either. Especially as D/D you can pretty much use your full arsenal as you have reasonably strong backstabs, strong DB, long duration on cripple and weakness when poisoned. On top of that your initiative regen is rock solid which makes you really flexible, no matter which set you use.

Note, that in our group I kind of play the roamer. We have more specialized characters, too. So this build might not be for everyone. I've cleared most of the explorer modes with it, though. In cases where pure single target damage is needed I also have a berserker set.

See one post above - imo, I find that it is the power/crit part of your gear that provides the roundedness of your build, largely due to your ability to use skills like CnD and backstabs without it being a total washout. The condition dmg is fine the way you set it up largely due to the fact that you didnt' sacrifice power or condition damage for each other or for survivability. The problem in gearing only comes when players start to stack gear like Carrion and Knight together, which works okay from the perspective of a power build, but not well in crit and the damage dealt (there is no exploitation of a high crit with high crit dmg etc).

In short, full glass cannon might be indeed the best way to play a all around conditions thief - i.e. you did it right.

As a comparison vs crit gear with crit dmg bonus - Full Rampagers means you crit often, but your crits won't hit as hard, and from what I've read about full Berserker Gear (mainly Zerj's DPS thread), 10-12k pistol whips aren't uncommon. When in full Rampager gear - the best weapons I'd find is the use of P/D and DD. The reason is because CnD-auto attack has both a direct hit and bleed stacking component, and so does DB. The lack of crit dmg bonus is made up from the bleeds in both cases.

However in cases when you use backstabs in crit gear - that backstab is smaller than what could be achieved in precision/crit dmg gear, and there is no use of the tons of condition dmg at all. Same thing with a weapon set such as S/P. Which would mean you'd do much better with power/precision/crit dmg with weapon sets such as D/D and S/P should you use skills like backstab and pistol whip predominantly.

Edited by Larkenis, 04 October 2012 - 12:49 PM.


#13 Larkenis

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:20 PM

As an additional write up on weapon set skills and what stats they gravitate towards (numbers represent skills):

Dagger/Dagger
(1) Auto attack (melee damage with a poison component): Largely partial to direct damage - power/crit/crit dmg with a bit of conditon dmg (poison)
    (1) from stealth, Backstab - power/crit/crit dmg (lets shorten to pccd)
(2) Heartseerker - power/crit/crit dmg. 0 on condition dmg (cd).
(3) Death Blossom - 25% or lesser on pccd, 75% on cd.
(4) Dancing daggers - although used for utility, this is 100% pccd.
(5) CnD - 100% pccd, 0 cd.

Dagger/Pistol
(1) same as d/d
(2) same as d/d
(3) never used for actual damage, but rather as a distance closer
(4) I don't even use this
(5) Black Powder - Utility, 0 on pccd, 100 on cd, but even then, its not meant as a dmg dealer.

Pistol/Dagger
(1) Autoattack - 50% split between pccd and cd
    (1) from stealth - auto attack 5 shots + bleed 5 stacks: around 50% split
(2) don't use it much.
(3) Utility - pure pccd, but doesn't affect dmg much.
(4) same as dagger offhand comments
(5) same as dagger offhand comments

Shortbow
(1) Auto attack - Direct hit, bounces. Pure pccd.
(2) Cluster bomb - direct aoe hit with bleed dmg. I'd say an even split on pccd and cd.
(3) Utilty for distance.
(4) Poison field - purely cd, but rather used as a combo field provider and weakness generator.
(5) Not for dmg.

Sword/Pistol (we don't get consistently stealth on this one)
(1) Autoattack - 100% pccd
(2) Utility as a opener/conditions removal - pure pccd
(3) pistol whip - pure pccd
(4) no comments.
(5) Blinding powder- same as above.

Pistol/Pistol
(1) same as pistol mainhand
(2) "
(3) 8 shots in succession - purely pccd.
(4) & (5)  - same as all pistol offhands.

When you look at it from this perspective, you'd find that most skills utilises power/crit/crit dmg purely, several of which where condition dmg bonuses are simply not used at all. On the other hand, most skills that focus predominantly on condition dmg still consists of a direct hit component, where a few is evenly split (i.e. shortbow). Condition dmg builds often still needs to use skills which are purely pccd based. However, on the flipside, those who gear for power/crit/crit dmg just about ignores skills like death blossom and the P/D weapon set entirely. which means they don't lose anything.

The only situation where condition dmg excels in comparison is when fighting extremely heavily armored targets - by ignoring armor, you deal alot more damage than what a direct damage oriented gear/build can do. But one would need to know when those come around, and switch accordingly.

Disclaimer - I'm not saying the power/crit/crit damage builds are straight out better than condition dmg builds, because as you know it, the armor value of the mobs does diminishes direct hits, and heavily armored mobs diminish it alot, and that's where condition dmg builds shine - they deal the same amount of damage no matter the armor value.

#14 Rachmani

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:41 PM

As P/P you still want some condition damage because you'll sometimes use Black Powder followed by black powder and black powder.
I'd go for rampager armor + berserker jewelery with ruby gems, 1 ramager pistol (for P/D also), 1 berserker pistol.
Runes of strength all the way. Spec: 0/30/0/20/20.
Apart from that what you wrote is pretty much on spot.

The one thing I'd have to test is adding knight gear to my berserker set with different skill sets.

#15 Larkenis

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:53 PM

View PostRachmani, on 04 October 2012 - 01:41 PM, said:

As P/P you still want some condition damage because you'll sometimes use Black Powder followed by black powder and black powder.
I'd go for rampager armor + berserker jewelery with ruby gems, 1 ramager pistol (for P/D also), 1 berserker pistol.
Runes of strength all the way. Spec: 0/30/0/20/20.
Apart from that what you wrote is pretty much on spot.

The one thing I'd have to test is adding knight gear to my berserker set with different skill sets.

I think as far as Knight/Berserker goes, it is essentially the same as full Berserker, except for smaller crits and somewhat of a better survivability in terms of the hits you take. If you're doing fine in full berserker gear in dungeons, I don't think Knight/Berserker has much to offer you unless we're talking PVP.

edit: oh hey. noticed we're using the exact same rune set up and same trait distribution. does the +20% on might buff duration work for you? The duration numbers I'm seeing on the buffs seem to say otherwise. won't be surprised if it's bugged.

Edited by Larkenis, 04 October 2012 - 01:57 PM.


#16 Rachmani

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 11:08 AM

I honestly don't know. I always thought duration buff would work, but... no Idea, really. As for traits, I only run that as P/P and am still looking for a D/D build that really suits me.
Same goes for S/P. I think I'll try some knight pieces with that set. I'm by no means a bad player, but S/P is something that I like but that doesn't suit my playstyle or so it seems.

#17 Larkenis

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:11 PM

View PostRachmani, on 05 October 2012 - 11:08 AM, said:

I honestly don't know. I always thought duration buff would work, but... no Idea, really. As for traits, I only run that as P/P and am still looking for a D/D build that really suits me.
Same goes for S/P. I think I'll try some knight pieces with that set. I'm by no means a bad player, but S/P is something that I like but that doesn't suit my playstyle or so it seems.

I do find having some toughness makes it easier on me when I do Pistol Whip and take some damage in the process of the animation lock - not sure why that is, since I'm supposed to be evading. Still, because of the animation lock, I find myself not favoring S/P much either except for certain types of fights.

#18 Rachmani

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:34 AM

The reason I like it is mostly because it's crystal clear in its purpose and the traits that suit it.
Deadly Arts, critical strikes, acrobatics. That's it.

Oh, any I like the the combination of sword and a gun!




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