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Is it viable to run other builds than these popular ones and still be effective?


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#1 iLag

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:17 AM

I mean since this game advertises variety, can I play my thief whatever way I wan't and still do great?

I mean I like that build that dude has made on the Thief which is really popular but some of the Traits/Abilities I find boring

Edited by iLag, 19 December 2012 - 09:20 AM.


#2 Knuckle Joe

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:28 AM

You may find PvE content harder/more challenging with a build that's not a cookie cutter, but you'll do nice if you know what you're doing.

#3 Elr3d

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:32 AM

I find build experimentation very entertaining.

On my Elementalist and my Thief, I always ran custom builds (and no cookie butter, until my S/D Thief build became popular), and I'm fine.

Because GW2 combat system can be very forgiving, you have more margin to create effective builds, so go ahead. ;)

#4 The Shadow

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:47 PM

View PostElr3d, on 19 December 2012 - 09:32 AM, said:

I find build experimentation very entertaining.

On my Elementalist and my Thief, I always ran custom builds (and no cookie butter, until my S/D Thief build became popular), and I'm fine.

Because GW2 combat system can be very forgiving, you have more margin to create effective builds, so go ahead. ;)

Very same reason I've only ever released one of my builds.

To OP.

There are very very very very very many different (albeit sometimes very slight) builds/ variants of builds that are FAR more efficient than their "cookie-cutter" counter-parts.

Just use cookie-cutter builds to enhance your understanding of the class and it's systems/ mechanics. From there, have a goal in mind when creating a build and try it out until you tighten any possible loose ends.

#5 Red_Falcon

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 11:52 PM

"whatever way I want", no.
You can't play soccer with your hands as an attacker or basket with your feet.

As long as your build has some utility and common sense tho, it's ok.

#6 Rachmani

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 09:43 AM

View PostElr3d, on 19 December 2012 - 09:32 AM, said:

... I always ran custom builds (and no cookie butter, until my S/D Thief build became popular) ...

View PostThe Shadow, on 19 December 2012 - 10:47 PM, said:

Very same reason I've only ever released one of my builds.

Like you invented them or something :D.
Keep your feet firmly on the ground guys. ;)

Edited by Rachmani, 20 December 2012 - 09:44 AM.


#7 Elr3d

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:07 AM

View PostRachmani, on 20 December 2012 - 09:43 AM, said:

Like you invented them or something :D.
Keep your feet firmly on the ground guys. ;)

Yeah right. What I meant and I'm sure you understood is that I used to run a S/D build for quite some time, even though it was a set that was heavily bashed on these very forums for example. Then came Dacromir and his WvWvW videos and I realized we ran the same build as far as gameplay was concerned (and we even helped each other refine our respective builds).

Sure you can't claim paternity of a build since there is so many players you weren't probably the first to think about it, but what I meant was "that the build I play" when I say "my build".

#8 Rachmani

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 10:20 AM

I'm just teasing you :P.
Actually I'm mostly teasing The Shadow 'cause he somewhat sounds like he means it.

#9 Vysander

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

View PostRachmani, on 20 December 2012 - 10:20 AM, said:

I'm just teasing you :P.
Actually I'm mostly teasing The Shadow 'cause he somewhat sounds like he means it.

Well, in all fairness shadow was one of the first people to post a very detailed guide on his build.

Thats not to say no one did basically the same thing at the same time as he did and just didn't make a thread about it ( I.E. i was running about 95% of his build when he posted that thread). So he is somewhat justified.

Edited by Vysander, 20 December 2012 - 03:18 PM.


#10 The Shadow

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 03:57 PM

View PostRachmani, on 20 December 2012 - 10:20 AM, said:

I'm just teasing you :P.
Actually I'm mostly teasing The Shadow 'cause he somewhat sounds like he means it.

My build and Minion's builds were run quite a lot at the time of postage. The build I posted was just one example, but I got loads of pms in-game about it, all of which positive feedback. Had I posted many more of my builds at the time, I firmly believe they would have become popular/ gimmicky too.

I probably wasn't the first to consciously remove 5 points from Power and put them into Acrobatics. I probably was the first to post it on-line.

I call it 'my' build because I remember spending hours scrutinizing over where I should put what. It was a different state of the game. It makes me reminisce. Leave me be D;

#11 MazingerZ

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:00 PM

View PostThe Shadow, on 19 December 2012 - 10:47 PM, said:

Very same reason I've only ever released one of my builds.

To OP.

There are very very very very very many different (albeit sometimes very slight) builds/ variants of builds that are FAR more efficient than their "cookie-cutter" counter-parts.

Just use cookie-cutter builds to enhance your understanding of the class and it's systems/ mechanics. From there, have a goal in mind when creating a build and try it out until you tighten any possible loose ends.

Considering you wrote this in another thread, I find it mildly contradictory... http://www.guildwars...60#entry2124412

The idea that the use of certain weapons (heck, weapons, with the exception of venoms...) seems to dictate how the build is laid out more than utility skills... For instance, if you go Sword, you're going Power/Crit and you want Executioner...  That the damage loss without Executioner can't be made up elsewhere.
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Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#12 Vysander

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:19 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 20 December 2012 - 08:00 PM, said:

Considering you wrote this in another thread, I find it mildly contradictory... http://www.guildwars...60#entry2124412

The idea that the use of certain weapons (heck, weapons, with the exception of venoms...) seems to dictate how the build is laid out more than utility skills... For instance, if you go Sword, you're going Power/Crit and you want Executioner...  That the damage loss without Executioner can't be made up elsewhere.

I would say very mildly. Like green pepper mild.

Saying there's variety in the builds, but then saying that one trait line is pretty much necessary still means there's variety in builds. Just  not variety in the one trait that is the "core" of that build. Or, if not wanting to call anything the "core" of a build, then simply something that's too good not to have.

Would you not want to have 30 in crit stike with a power/prec build? Personally that's the one trait line that doesn't change when i'm running a power/prec/crt dmg build.

Edited by Vysander, 20 December 2012 - 08:24 PM.


#13 The Shadow

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:06 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 20 December 2012 - 08:00 PM, said:

Considering you wrote this in another thread, I find it mildly contradictory... http://www.guildwars...60#entry2124412

The idea that the use of certain weapons (heck, weapons, with the exception of venoms...) seems to dictate how the build is laid out more than utility skills... For instance, if you go Sword, you're going Power/Crit and you want Executioner...  That the damage loss without Executioner can't be made up elsewhere.

I don't want to write a massively detailed reply.. so I'm just going to very quickly illustrate a small part of the variety we have access to that vastly changes our game-play, utility skill choices and choice in gear by just analyzing one trait line (Crit Strikes). I won't be discussing all the builds in the world that aren't Pow/ Crit nor will I discuss all the other trait-lines because frankly I'd end up being here, still typing a reply, in like a weeks time.

1) Signets of Power + Signet use - if you pick these, you might want to use signets. You may want to use Boon/ Might duration runes too.

2) Pistol Mastery + Combo Critical Chance/ Ankle Shots + Executioner - Well you'd probably want to use P/P. Since you'll be spamming unload you may want to use Signet of Malice as opposed to Hide in Shadows.

3) Side Strike + Critical Haste + Executioner - With this you could go S/P or S/D or D/D or D/P. May want to opt for back stabbing. Very many different options in the way of gear/ utility.

4) Furious Retaliation + Practiced Tolerance + Executioner - Could go S/P or S/D or D/D or D/P. Slightly more survival. Might want to opt for Valkyrie gear to boost your vitality but keep Berserker Jewelry and Sigil of Accuracy to maintain high crit chance.

See the point I'm making yet..?

You may invest 30 points in Critical Strikes (for Executioner's) in many different Pow/ Crit builds. With 30 points invested in Critical Strikes you can still use a variety of weapon sets. You can still use a variety of different stat gear. You can still use a variety of different utilities.

Point I'm making, and I'm not trying to be condescending but seriously... when you consider all the variety available to you, just in the Critical Strikes line, and then consider all the other possible variety with 40 more points to play with, you'd be an absolute fool to suggest that there is no variety, regardless of whether or not you keep 30 points in the Critical Strikes line.

To sum up, Vysander basically made my point for me.

Edited by The Shadow, 20 December 2012 - 11:12 PM.


#14 MazingerZ

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:28 PM

But you've basically centered all that around one 30 point trait.  At that point, the trait may as well be baked in, like WoW did for Blessing of Kings, for any power/crit build, as you said.  It seems like a serious design flaw and I honestly challenge this forum to create effective builds not centering on 30 points in Critical Strikes.
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#15 The Shadow

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:31 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 20 December 2012 - 11:28 PM, said:

But you've basically centered all that around one 30 point trait.  At that point, the trait may as well be baked in, like WoW did for Blessing of Kings, for any power/crit build, as you said.  It seems like a serious design flaw and I honestly challenge this forum to create effective builds not centering on 30 points in Critical Strikes.

There are plenty of viable builds that aren't centered on Critical Strikes. But they aren't centered on Power/ Crit damage either. They do damage via different means.

I don't see why that's an issue?

I never played WoW, so I don't understand your point entirely

Edited by The Shadow, 20 December 2012 - 11:31 PM.


#16 MazingerZ

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:47 PM

View PostThe Shadow, on 20 December 2012 - 11:31 PM, said:

There are plenty of viable builds that aren't centered on Critical Strikes. But they aren't centered on Power/ Crit damage either. They do damage via different means.

I don't see why that's an issue?

I never played WoW, so I don't understand your point entirely

WoW had a tendency to have abilities that were practical 'must haves' for any spec.  For instance, 'Anger Management' for Warriors so they didn't lose all their 'resource' when they switched to a difference 'stance.'  Blessing of Kings was a powerful Paladin buff that every Paladin picked up because it was so effective as a group buff.  At some point, Blizzard got around to baking a lot of things into the classes as base-line abilities because people would pick them up, even if it was costly to their point pools.

Let me simplify it a little... What would be an effective damage build that wasn't based on condition damage?  Or not solely?  Because when I Google anything on Sword, everyone who's posting anything has Executioner and anyone who's not is called out on it or gets no critique.  Daggers and Pistols deliver both condition and direct damage, depending on play style and seem far more flexible for traiting.

Edited by MazingerZ, 20 December 2012 - 11:48 PM.

It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#17 The Shadow

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:15 AM

View PostMazingerZ, on 20 December 2012 - 11:47 PM, said:

WoW had a tendency to have abilities that were practical 'must haves' for any spec.  For instance, 'Anger Management' for Warriors so they didn't lose all their 'resource' when they switched to a difference 'stance.'  Blessing of Kings was a powerful Paladin buff that every Paladin picked up because it was so effective as a group buff.  At some point, Blizzard got around to baking a lot of things into the classes as base-line abilities because people would pick them up, even if it was costly to their point pools.

Let me simplify it a little... What would be an effective damage build that wasn't based on condition damage?  Or not solely?  Because when I Google anything on Sword, everyone who's posting anything has Executioner and anyone who's not is called out on it or gets no critique.  Daggers and Pistols deliver both condition and direct damage, depending on play style and seem far more flexible for traiting.

D/D can be either Condition or Power.
D/P can only be Power.
P/D Can be either Condition or Power or a mixture of both.
P/P Can be either Condition or Power (but is better as Power).
D/P and D/S are both Power only.
SB is both.

By that logic I see your point to an extent. More builds and weapon-sets are based around Power/ Crit. That doesn't mean Power/ Crit builds are better or are going to become the only type of viable build. Condition builds are just as viable if not more so in many situations because you end up having more survival. In the case of Sword, well there probably isn't a viable condition-sword build. But there are plenty of D/D, P/D and SB condition builds that are viable.

#18 MazingerZ

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:30 AM

View PostThe Shadow, on 21 December 2012 - 12:15 AM, said:

D/D can be either Condition or Power.
D/P can only be Power.
P/D Can be either Condition or Power or a mixture of both.
P/P Can be either Condition or Power (but is better as Power).
D/P and D/S are both Power only.
SB is both.

By that logic I see your point to an extent. More builds and weapon-sets are based around Power/ Crit. That doesn't mean Power/ Crit builds are better or are going to become the only type of viable build. Condition builds are just as viable if not more so in many situations because you end up having more survival. In the case of Sword, well there probably isn't a viable condition-sword build. But there are plenty of D/D, P/D and SB condition builds that are viable.

I'm just speaking to the viability of the other trees as primary trees without needing to push 30 in either Critical Strikes (crits / Executioner) or Trickery (cond dmg).

For instance, if  you wanted to go 30 in Acro or Shadow Arts?  I think a good investigation and write up to explore what can be done outside of just dealing damage should be explored.  Granted, killing things is the central focus of the game itself so that's why damage buffs are important, but if you were choosing to go more support or debuffer...

Edited by MazingerZ, 21 December 2012 - 12:30 AM.

It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#19 The Shadow

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:49 AM

View PostMazingerZ, on 21 December 2012 - 12:30 AM, said:

I'm just speaking to the viability of the other trees as primary trees without needing to push 30 in either Critical Strikes (crits / Executioner) or Trickery (cond dmg).

For instance, if  you wanted to go 30 in Acro or Shadow Arts?  I think a good investigation and write up to explore what can be done outside of just dealing damage should be explored.  Granted, killing things is the central focus of the game itself so that's why damage buffs are important, but if you were choosing to go more support or debuffer...

Well I guess that's one of the main issues with the Thief class and GW2 in general. Not all classes are actually as viable in all rolls as was initially advertised by Anet. Our best way of offering a team support is via Venom Share/ Stealth/ sustainable DPS/ rezzing downed members which is still support in the sense that it's helping a group of people complete an objective and is indeed vital. We wont ever be able to offer the same support a Guardian or Ele could offer though.

Edited by The Shadow, 21 December 2012 - 12:49 AM.


#20 MazingerZ

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 02:16 AM

View PostThe Shadow, on 21 December 2012 - 12:49 AM, said:



Well I guess that's one of the main issues with the Thief class and GW2 in general. Not all classes are actually as viable in all rolls as was initially advertised by Anet. Our best way of offering a team support is via Venom Share/ Stealth/ sustainable DPS/ rezzing downed members which is still support in the sense that it's helping a group of people complete an objective and is indeed vital. We wont ever be able to offer the same support a Guardian or Ele could offer though.

I'm not necessarily talking about the same type of support, but the viability of putting emphasis on the other trees.
It's okay to enjoy crap if you're willing to admit it's crap.
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#21 Rachmani

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:54 AM

View PostMazingerZ, on 21 December 2012 - 12:30 AM, said:

I'm just speaking to the viability of the other trees as primary trees without needing to push 30 in either Critical Strikes (crits / Executioner) or Trickery (cond dmg).

For instance, if  you wanted to go 30 in Acro or Shadow Arts?  I think a good investigation and write up to explore what can be done outside of just dealing damage should be explored.  Granted, killing things is the central focus of the game itself so that's why damage buffs are important, but if you were choosing to go more support or debuffer...

Not many builds actually play with 30 trickery.
The problem with critical strikes is an unhealthy (from a diversity point of view) combination of stats & traits that make it hard to not put 30 points in it - if you happen to be focused on critdamage.
Crit chance AND crit damage just become better and better the more you have and happen to be in the same trait row (unlike with some other classes, that have precision and condition damage in one row). Unfortunately both Executioner & Hidden assassin also happen to be very effective damage traits.
That's why it's hard to justify not putting 30 points in it.

The second problem actually goes deeper. Two problems:
1. GW2 doesn't award stat diversity. Sure, you sometimes need to trait/equip some defensive stats, but that's mostly dictated by the circumstances. Just like you can't melee each and every boss without thought.
This, combined with the ability to just weapon swap to get a whole different set of skills - making it easy to fill gaps left by your main weapon set (for example to get AoE, your first set lacks) - makes splitting stats very unrewarding.
Take D/D it has both the best AoE a thief can get & the best single target skill. Unfortunately Backstab shines with Power/crit/crit damage & Death Blossoms Power scaling is just bad. It needs condition damage (and possibly duration). So by splitting stats you weapon both options. But why should you, as you can just equip a shortbow for AoE fights that does ok with Power/crit damage? Why should you, as full condition DB is just as good single target as it is on multiple targets - you're better of DBing all the way than with splitting damage.
2. Initiative, as good as it is, further enforces that behavior by making it possible to just spam certain skills & ignoring others. Again, enhanced by a second weapon set that gives other, better options for a min/maxed stats.

If you insist on trying things out though, trait something like 25/15/30/0/0 for P/D (focusing on a mix of mostly rampager & some berserker gear - you might even want to sneak in one or two carrion pieces for some vitality - with might duration or condition duration runes). Idea is simple, reasonably hard hitting Cloak & Dagger (that has good power scaling) supports Sneak attack that scales moderately with power (and therefore might) but also stacks some decent 5 second bleeds on your target. Add a sigil of strength (or maybe earth) and you should be fine. Essentially you're now dealing both power and condition damage and get away with it by being hard to kill & utilizing some of the more or less overlooked shadow arts traits.

#22 Quivvie

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:37 PM

View PostiLag, on 19 December 2012 - 09:17 AM, said:

I mean since this game advertises variety, can I play my thief whatever way I wan't and still do great?

I mean I like that build that dude has made on the Thief which is really popular but some of the Traits/Abilities I find boring

Builds usually become popular for a reason...oftentimes they work.  Sure you can be viable as a Thief without a 'popular' build...but you probably won't be as efficient.  You can still stand out in the crowd if that's your desire...




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