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Warrior Builds: Success and Failure

warrior builds theorycraft glass cannon

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#1 Nikephoros

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:20 PM

Hello all, I’m Nikephoros of Death and Taxes [DnT].  There has been some spirited debate on the forums lately 0ver some of the builds that have been posted.  We don’t (thankfully) have DPS meters, and the various calculators and spreadsheets I’ve seen all fall short of adequately describing real-world, in-game conditions.  The unfortunate result is a lot of low-DPS builds are posted by authors who describe them as “high DPS” with “excellent survivability.”  My goal here is to describe why these sort of builds are not optimal for instanced content, organized OR pug.

There is no difference between boon stacking and signet stacking

A lot of builds I’ve seen lately rely on a lot of points into Tactics to enable some kind of boon stacking strategy.  This is merely a marginal improvement over the mockable 5 signet build.  The 5 signet build sacrifices all team utility and party-wide buffs for a small increase in personal DPS.  We all (I hope) recognize this is very bad.  But what, really, are the boon stacking/shout builds doing?  They are sacrificing personal DPS for a small increase in team utility.  This only a slight improvement over the signets.

The Tactics builds utilize very good utility skills, but normal DPS builds ALSO use those same skills.  So what do the Tactics builds get for their huge investment into Tactics that the DPS builds don’t get?  Slightly longer boon duration and some marginal party-wide healing.  The lesson here is that the team-wide utility is generated by the Utility Skills themselves, and the Tactics-related bonuses are more or less meaningless.  More specifically, Shake it Off, For Great Justice and On My Mark are skills that provide huge team utility in ANY warrior build.  Adding a small amount of healing does NOT add significantly more utility than the skill itself already does.  A real world example would buying an add-on for a product you purchased: would you pay double the price for a supplement to a product you own that will only make it 5% better?  Ofcourse not, that is a poor investment.  Putting 20 or 30 points into Tactics or Defense in order to gain a very tiny benefit is an extremely poor investment of your trait points.

You’re not going to be Superman, and you don’t have to be

A second failing of these builds is that they try to be Superman.  They want to fulfill every team role, and excel at every role.  They want to provide party heals.  They want to provide direct DPS.  They want to tank.  They want to CC.  Even the creators of these builds will admit that they are sacrificing a lot to achieve “balance.”  The defense they cite is, “in pugs I cannot count on ______ to do _____.”  This is flawed thinking.  If everyone went into pugs with this mentality, you would have 5 flawed builds floundering to accomplish the tasks at hand.  If you were playing a build designed to fulfill a single focused role, you might still have 4 flawed builds, but you would have at least 1 good build you could count on, and your pug would be better for it.
Specialization is the key to efficiency.  Some classes are quite simply better than others at fulfilling particular roles in PvE.  If everyone builds towards their class’s strengths, the team prospers.  Let me be perfectly clear: the Warrior is capable of providing the most DPS in instanced content.  This is the role they do better than anyone else, and this is the reason why you would bring a Warrior to your team rather than another Guardian.

Not only do Warriors have the best potential personal DPS, their best utility skills are force multipliers.  FGJ, On My Mark, Banner of Discipline require no trait investment to be excellent and each increases the DPS of your team significantly.  Once you have the proper skills on your utility bar, your job of providing utility is, by and large, over.  From that point your consideration should be maximizing your own DPS, not being an inferior Guardian.

Is a Warrior with 30 Tactics for shout heals, or for maximizing Rune of Lyssa, providing significantly more team utility with their FGJ and OMM than a generic 25/25/0/0/20 DPS build?  I would argue not.  They are giving away between 25-30% DPS (my estimate) for an immeasurably small amount of team utility in case of the shout build, and in the case of boon stacking, for a minor amount of Vitality.  This is not a worthy trade off, in either case.

In summary, orienting all your traits in order to stack boons on yourself is just as selfish in a team build as stacking signets is.  Dungeons and Fractals are a team game, and specialization and defined roles is how you complete them most quickly and most painlessly.  You don’t need to be a better Guardian than your Guardian and you certainly don’t need to be a better Mesmer than your Mesmer.

Trait Points are for hitting desired traits, not for stat numbers

Simply put, your trait points are best utilized hitting the particular major and minor traits that you want your build to have.  Your personal survivability should be decided by your gear, not your traits.  If you are not comfortable running a glass cannon that is entirely understandable.  I would rather have an inexperienced player running full Knights and stay up than full Zerker and going down constantly.  In short: I’m not opposed to people adding Knights pieces until they have the survivability they are seeking.

What I am opposed to is dumping 30 points into Defense or Tactics in order to get the survivability they are seeking.  The traits that most positively increase a warrior’s DPS potential are in Arms, Strength and to a lesser extent, Discipline.  Failing to hit the key traits in these lines will drastically lower your DPS.  Trading away these key traits for Vitality or Toughness is a horrible maneuver, especially considering that you can get the desired Vitality or Toughness from gear without missing out on your key offensive traits.  For example, a 25/25/0/0/20 warrior in an optimal mix of Knights and Berserkers will significantly out DPS a 0/20/30/10/10 warrior in full Berserkers AND do so without being significantly squishier.

The game mechanics encourage crit based stacked melee

This should go without saying, but the game mechanics as they exist today encourage instance groups to play crit builds with stacked melee.  Melee DPS in general is higher than ranged thanks to increased attack speed and cleave damage, and once you know how to dodge properly it carries no significant increase in risk.  More specifically, crit based melee builds have better DPS than straight power stacking builds or condition builds.  And when Blackberry/Mixedberry/Omnomberry Pies are considered, the crit builds have better defense as well.

What does this mean for warriors?  It means that your most optimal build for instanced content is a crit based melee build (with utility skills to force multiply crit based melee) utilizing weapons that encourage this playstyle.  To be precise, Greatsword and Axe.  Swords are close, but too reliant on condition damage.  Hammers and Maces provide a lot of CC that is useless on any difficult fight and have lower DPS than Sword.  If your build wastes any traits to maximize Hammers, maces or swords you are suboptimal.  If your build uses Axes or Greatsword but isn’t focused on crit based melee potential, it is suboptimal.

Easy content is no excuse to slack off, difficult content is no excuse to water down your build

I hear a version of these fallacies all the time in defense of bad builds.

“CoF is easy, so who cares what build I run?”  

Just because something is easy, does not mean you should gimp yourself by playing a suboptimal build.  In an organized group, that means you are slowing down your friends.  In a pug, you are wasting peoples’ time because you’re too selfish to put in an honest effort.

Easy content, rather than an excuse to slack off, is an encouragement to go faster.  Sure, any crappy build can do CoF1 in 10 minutes.  But only efficient builds can do it in 6.  Why are you satisfied with mediocrity?  Why is “good enough” good enough?  You shouldn’t be, and it isn’t.  This is a loser mentality.  Winner mentality is pushing yourself to excel even when you don’t have to.

“This build is also good for open world pve and WvW.”

In open world PvE, when you play a joke build, you are wasting your own time.  When you play a joke build in instanced content you are wasting 4 other peoples’ time.  The former is fine because you’re entitled to waste your own time killing trash mobs in Orr or fighting Jormag events.  Wasting a pug group’s time with your bad build is pretty disrespectful.

As far as WvW goes, I’m glad you enjoy it.  I enjoy it a lot too.  But my enjoyment of it does not entitle me to gimp pugs with a bad build, and it definitely would not be acceptable to foist a bad build on my guildmates in an organized run because I’m preserving a WvW spec that is suboptimal for PvE content.

“Being a glass cannon stops working in hard content.”

This fallacy is painfully wrong.  Your 30 Tactics or Defense will not save you from a failure to dodge an agony attack at level 40+.  Those same wasted trait points will not make you an uber tank who can steamroll the difficult sections of the dredge or grawl fractal.  No amount of Tactics or Defense traits will allow you to tank Subject Alpha or Lupicus without dodging.

Once you start difficult content, you will rapidly become aware that your survivability is contingent solely upon your ability to dodge, and how often you can proc your Omnomberry Pie food and how good your Guardian is at minimizing how much splash damage you take.  The most difficult dungeon fights (Lupicus, Alpha, Simin) are either DPS checks and/or dodge checks.  The best possible builds for any of those encounters are DPS glass cannons designed to end the encounter as fast as possible.

No matter how badly you want the game mechanics to encourage a balanced build that is more effective than a DPS glass cannon while specced into defensive trait, the game mechanics do not.  The faster you acclimate to the actual game you’re playing rather than building for the game you want to be playing, the better your results will be.

Unique for the sake of uniqueness is not a redeeming quality

I understand that a lot of people hate build conformity.  They want to be unique, and not be told what they “have” to run.  Contrarians are a necessary part of the game and society in general.  Challenging the status quo is how new discoveries are made and how progress happens.  I encourage everyone to theory-craft and buildcraft to their heart’s content.

Unfortunately, there is a difference between being unique because you’re an innovator, and being unique for the sake of being unique.  Most of the trash builds people post are authored by the later.  They would rather gimp themselves and their party than lose their uniqueness.   This is selfish, as I described.  On the other hand, there are people that simply want e-fame from creating a popular build.  They will invent ridiculous ad hoc rationalizations to defend their poor choices and ignore any and all valid criticisms.  Without getting into specific examples, this is detestable.

Lastly, the concept of crowdsourcing in an MMO means that the chances a lone innovator’s conclusions are better than the crowd’s are miniscule.  In the rare event that an innovator invents a build concept superior to the meta, the crowd will embrace it, and refine it in the crucible of thousands of runs.  The chances your Tactics or Defense oriented Warrior build is more optimal for instanced PvE than the meta DPS builds is infinitesimally small.  Thus, everyone should be skeptical of such builds until proven otherwise, preferably with indisputable video evidence.  When a person claims, “My build does more DPS than glass cannons AND is way more survivable!” that person is likely either honestly mistaken, self-deluded or a liar.  Or any of the several possible combinations.  What are likely not is more clever or insightful than the collective crowd of extremely skilled and intelligent people playing the game.

#2 Puandro

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:45 PM

I agree with most of what you said but 20/25/0/10/15 is the highest Warrior DPS build atm.

#3 Nikephoros

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:46 PM

View PostPuandro, on 06 February 2013 - 10:45 PM, said:

I agree with most of what you said but 20/25/0/10/15 is the highest Warrior DPS build atm.

I don't recall making any specific claims about which allocation had the best dps, but thanks.

#4 Dirame

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:56 PM

Personally, I've never stuck rigidly to builds or weapon choices. I have all my weapons in my backpack, change weapons depending on the situation I see coming up. When fighting large groups of trash, I opt for the hammer and offhand-mace for AoE CC and when it's just a single target, bust out that Rifle and Greatsword.

#5 Ninja Battle Lion

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:19 AM

I agree with most of what you're saying. That said I reckon 20 Tactics for Empowered and Quick Breathing is a solid investment, and I'd rate Discipline higher than Arms for DPS purposes.

#6 Stigma

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:27 AM

Nice post. I have to also state how the fallacy that many builds come upon is the fact that certain Traits are selected purely based on desire to get that ability rather than having it make logical sense to get it and have it synergize with everything else. So don't blind obtain trait abilities just cause.

Also I don't understand the obsession with obtaining the HIGHEST DPS number that some ppl have.

Edited by Stigma, 07 February 2013 - 01:30 AM.


#7 Lucav

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:37 AM

Well said, I agree with almost everything.

#8 Epitaph_Blade

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:53 AM

Very instructive, but at the same time, the idea of gw2 being the game both devs and the public didn't wanted it to be, is a little bit scary.
A game where your character is bound to a certain build and a certain gameplay style. With no chance of being "less effective" in a certain area without "wasting other's time". Maybe I'm in the wrong game.

#9 Nikephoros

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

View PostNinja Battle Lion, on 07 February 2013 - 12:19 AM, said:

I agree with most of what you're saying. That said I reckon 20 Tactics for Empowered and Quick Breathing is a solid investment, and I'd rate Discipline higher than Arms for DPS purposes.

I don't.  10 points in Tactics opens up a lot of worlds, in that you can bring empowered, banners, longbow etc.  Adding another 10, which would come at the expense of an important dps trait to get shout cool downs is a huge mistake.  Why?  Because you should have other warriors in your group.  With 2 warriors each with FGJ and SoR, you should have close enough to 100% fury uptime in every fight.  A 3rd warrior makes it a given.  Quick Breathing is fine for soloing, but in instanced content it is too self-indulgent.


View PostEpitaph_Blade, on 07 February 2013 - 03:53 AM, said:

Very instructive, but at the same time, the idea of gw2 being the game both devs and the public didn't wanted it to be, is a little bit scary.
A game where your character is bound to a certain build and a certain gameplay style. With no chance of being "less effective" in a certain area without "wasting other's time". Maybe I'm in the wrong game.

Min/maxing will exist in any type of game where players can select their own build stats.  Achieving internal balance to the point where you could christmas tree your traits and still be equally effective is impossible, and I'm not sure that's the game you want to be in either.

#10 Edath

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:42 AM

25/25/0/10/10 provides highest (party) dps -when using GS.

#11 Buran_Grey

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

Good post, I also like the fact that dungeons, PvE and WvW are based on diferent mechanics and build priorities for each one, which means that a sub-optimal build for the sooner can works wonders for the later and viceversa. It also gives a reason to rise more than a character for each class.

#12 Red_Falcon

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

This thread is just to throw smack at builds like mine and Epitaph's, even though you have been proved mathematically wrong as in our builds offer more DPS than a normal glass cannon - if you want to ignore math and go by "faith" that's your choice.
You just seem to want to play the antagonist and believe that everyone should share your opinion on builds, even if your opinion is mathematically wrong.
People have their brains, their opinions and their playstyles - you can't just demand that everyone follows your standards - especially when your standard are wrong by math.

Also not true that PvE builds can't be made into WvW ones.
I have gotten 15k kills in WvW with a 20/0/30/10/10 build which has the same point allocation of my Invincible Berserker PvE build, I just swapped traits and utilities appropriately.

Edited by Khalija, 08 February 2013 - 05:31 PM.
removed the OBVIOUS trolling


#13 Nikephoros

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:08 AM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 07 February 2013 - 10:54 AM, said:

...even though you have been proved mathematically wrong.
Our builds offer mathematically more DPS than an old glass cannon - if you want to ignore math and go by "faith" that's your choice.

Actually, your build was mathematically proven in that thread to be garbage compared to a normal DPS build.  

Quote

Also not true that PvE builds can't be made into WvW ones.

I didn't say that they couldn't.

Edited by Khalija, 08 February 2013 - 05:32 PM.
removed trolling and replies to trolling - also, don't quote war


#14 Red_Falcon

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

View PostNikephoros, on 07 February 2013 - 11:08 AM, said:

Actually, your build was mathematically proven in that thread to be garbage compared to a normal DPS build.
  


Why do you have to lie this obviously?
Even Stigma himself admitted that his math was wrong because it was 5AM and he forgot some data.

Here is the correct math.

Posted Image

Unless you want to declare math as a wrong science you'll have to accept it's how it is.

And this is not even considering my Empowered Knight build, just the less-DPS-ish 9 boon version.
My Empowered Knight gets 80% crit chance on top of the above.

Edited by Khalija, 08 February 2013 - 05:36 PM.
removed quote and reply as they were part of the trolling


#15 Ship Soo

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

As to the OP, I've been struggling with these thoughts lately too. I personally have been running a shout GS build (Brand's) and I really like it. I've been experimenting with going back to axe or the warhorn (traited). it's nice to have variety. But, you can never really tell what you are going to get from a PUG, be it guildies with level 50 characters or PUG hammer warriors using mace/axe. The shout build seems much better at holding groups like that together, than a DPS monster build where everyone else dies.

I agree though, that for organized content where you hand pick your  group and can all agree on using the most optimal skills/gear, your setup is obviously better. 6 minutes a run is better than 10.

But for me personally, I don't find speed runs to be all that enjoyable. I'm not playing this game to make money, I'm playing for FUN. To say that a build is garbage if we have 30 in tactics or don't all run the same optimal skill bar...well...

View PostNikephoros, on 07 February 2013 - 11:08 AM, said:

Wasting a pug group’s time with your bad build is pretty disrespectful.

I think this is a pretty elitist attitude. We're not talking about Level 80 fractals here. You were talking about PUGS. So what if HoTW takes 5 more minutes? If you really want to do 5 minute runs, you shouldn't be looking in Pugs.

To be frank, the dungeon content in GW2 is not all that difficult, once you know the tricks and how to dodge.

If your argument boils down to "I can run 5% faster" therefore everyone should use this build, I think you've missed the point of a GAME

Edited by Khalija, 08 February 2013 - 05:33 PM.
removed quotes and reply to trolling

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#16 Red_Falcon

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:03 PM

View PostShip Soo, on 07 February 2013 - 11:59 AM, said:

Well that escalated quickly. I can only imagine Brand will be incoming very shortly, but you will likely get more of a coherent argument from him than Falcon.

___

As to the OP, I've been struggling with these thoughts lately too. I personally have been running a shout GS build (Brand's) and I really like it. I've been experimenting with going back to axe or the warhorn (traited). it's nice to have variety. But, you can never really tell what you are going to get from a PUG, be it guildies with level 50 characters or PUG hammer warriors using mace/axe. The shout build seems much better at holding groups like that together, than a DPS monster build where everyone else dies.

I agree though, that for organized content where you hand pick your  group and can all agree on using the most optimal skills/gear, your setup is obviously better. 6 minutes a run is better than 10.

But for me personally, I don't find speed runs to be all that enjoyable. I'm not playing this game to make money, I'm playing for FUN. To say that a build is garbage if we have 30 in tactics or don't all run the same optimal skill bar...well...

Speed runs can be a relief sometimes.
I just ran frac 30 with a full DPS group (2 DPS warriors me included, 2 DPS thieves, 1 DPS ele) and it took a few minutes to finish the run, Mining suit blew up in the time of 3 buckets, Leg. Shaman went to 0% before we had time to die.

The problem is that the more a fight lasts, the more time people have to do mistakes so in general if the boss dies very quickly there is less room for mistake.

That doesn't mean any group won't work however. I'm againt people who want PuG members to be specced with X Y and Z.

View PostShip Soo, on 07 February 2013 - 11:59 AM, said:

I think this is a pretty elitist attitude. We're not talking about Level 80 fractals here. You were talking about PUGS. So what if HoTW takes 5 more minutes? If you really want to do 5 minute runs, you shouldn't be looking in Pugs.

To be frank, the dungeon content in GW2 is not all that difficult, once you know the tricks and how to dodge.

If your argument boils down to "I can run 5% faster" therefore everyone should use this build, I think you've missed the point of a GAME

I agree with this.

My problem with this guy is, who is this guy to come here and take a dump on everyone's work, boasts his opinionated stuff by putting down everyone else - and on top of it all, it's all his theory, there is no build or math behind any of his statements.
It's just disruptive and baseless hate talk right here, and I suspect major amounts of attention whoring.

Edited by Red_Falcon, 07 February 2013 - 02:04 PM.


#17 Lord_Demosthene

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

I was away from these boards for quite some time, however this thread begs for some more input, so here it goes:

1) "Trait Points are for hitting desired traits, not for stat numbers"

It all comes down to opportunity cost in a given scenario.

Builds are not fixed in place, rather they should be viewed as a baseline strategy for particular encounter.

I'm not trying to argue here, I merely bring some points that might've been overlooked or not properly emphasised, either in opening post or it's following replies.

To give some examples:

A) DPS builds, and crit-DPS builds in particular, are far more stat-reliant than utility, control, support or in-between variants of these concepts - for this reason alone, great attention should be paid to major & minor trait benefits, at the opportunity cost of picking other major & minor traits AND the passive stat bonuses they provide (this is true for all builds, even more so for DPS builds, however - and while equipment customisation gives powerful tools to patch "statistical holes" in the build and make taking certain traits worthwhile, it's because the total "sum" of what X traits and Y total stats bring to the table still outweights the alternatives, rather than because passive stat bonuses from trait lines are to be completely discarded)

B) you can't re-allocate trait points inside fractals (e.g. convert 25 strength 25 arms 20 discipline to 20 strength 30 arms 20 discipline), therefore going for a more generalist trait point allocation that gives benefits in most encounters in the given scenario (while still allowing for swapping major traits before said encounters) might be a better idea; on the flip side, the possibility of X encounter impossible or unreasonably risky without Z traits/utilities and Y equipment might beg for a seemingly overall inferior choice, if it guarantees dungeon completion within your static/PUG group (difficulty of measuring risk properly is another matter here), therefore becoming the actual optimal solution catered to your group composition and encounter

C) elaborating on previous point a bit, there is generally no harm done from carrying different armour/trinket sets and all weapons, as well as designing a build towards swapping key major traits before particular encounters in an instance, as opposed to viewing a build in static fashion - build is dynamic and heavily reliant on the user, as well as remaining group members, the only "static" part of it is how much you limit yourself with the alternative major traits you can pick AND inventory items you can swap to (this even goes as far as making use of "special" equipment such as spy kits, and then measuring how much leeway your build has got in terms of maximising overall effectiveness)

2) "I agree with most of what you said but 20/25/0/10/15 is the highest Warrior DPS build atm" and similar statements

Same story as before.

A few points:

A) depends on particular scenario, encounters within that scenario and group composition - generally speaking, regardless of whether you run axe or GS, 20/25/0/10/15 will be better for "static DPS" only if sufficient number of unique boons are stacked, preferably with 100% uptime

B) similarly, gimping yourself by limiting access to game-changing traits such as "mobile strikes" (20 discipline) for GS, "leg specialist" (10 tactics) for GS/axe/rifle or any other alternatives might severely handicap your group's ability to maintain highest effective DPS (dynamic DPS) in a given encounter in X scenario, as well as lock you up to a very static and conservative trait point distribution, giving very little or no viable alternatives for major trait points swapping to adapt better to remaining encounters within the specified scenario

C) a little bit of my terminology: "static DPS" counts for attacking a monster 100% of the time, it's up to personal preference whether you assume there is a full 25 might stick and 120 seconds fury uptime on you already, or whether it builds up over time and might or might not rival a less boon-oriented build in terms of raw damage over X time; "dynamic/effective DPS" counts for the actual damage you can deal, while getting away with it - this term is most objective if it's results-oriented (e.g. comparing dungeon completion times in team setting, as opposed to trying to add up team DPS in a fictional, artificial testing scenario or diving purely for your personal DPS, not caring for group's total effectiveness)

D) the objective here should not be maximising individual DPS under X conditions, maximising group/team's DPS under X conditions, but reaching best possible completion time of a dungeon in group/team setting (time efficiency) OR best "(reward - cost)/time" ratio (cost efficiency) - alternatively, you can strike for a compromise between these two

---

Now a bit of conventional wisdom accumulated over the years of playing games overall, MMORPGs in particular and GW2 as of late:

1) in a PUG setting, people generally should gravitate towards self-sufficient builds with good self-sustain (self-healing, damage mitigation & on-demand control skills, 1st priority), good group sustain not reliant on precise positioning, voice communication and training (passive party support & static force multipliers, 2nd priority), best possible damage having accounted for the other two priorities (3rd priority)

Why?

Biggest weakness of PUG is it's random nature, making communication and group synergy difficult. Completing the instance with highest possible success rate, followed by completing it in reasonable time while reducing stress, tension and reliance on precise manouvers greatly increases PUG's success.

Why PUGs can be extremely frustrating experience?

Most people fend for themselves, prioritising self-sustain and damage, without regard for the group. This backfires in various ways, but usually - the group overall will be weaker, eliminating weakest chains first, and then striking back at the most selfish, self-reliant group members, which no longer have a buddy to support them and neutralise critical opponents.

Similarly, PUGs are reliant on natural leaders if they are avaiable, and cruel taskmasters if natural leader is not present - since latter is the case most often, most optimal builds and group strategies will be culled in favour of popular (not necessarily best in a competent team, but for instance easy to use & understand, with instant & measurable benefits) and tested strategies, often on a "copy-paste or kick" basis, where the only form of group communication is following strict gear, trait and strategy guidelines specified by the ringleader, group cohesion reliant on fear & intimidation (picking a black sheep to throw insults at as soon as possible to keep other members in check; measuring performance by ineffectual but easy to understand metrics such as "how many times you died" or "you didn't dodge", regardless of their actual relevance; threatening to kick on the basis of undermining taskmaster's authority, even if criticism was well deserved).

The following nuissance is further confounded by people reliant on PUGs to access end-game content, conducting themselves in social interactions & designing their builds in a "job portfolio" fashion, trying to appear as law-obeying, conforming member of society, that has no opinion and follows orders to the letter. What this leads to, is mediocrity:

- "only constructive criticism allowed" mentality, which means not saying things that will get you kicked regardless of their merit (group feedback is severely handicapped because of it, making the group even more static, unable to adapt, easy prey for ragequits if a sufficiently elaborate encounter shows up - that can't be pre-built for or pre-learned, but requires on-demand team communication and flexibility)
- builds designed around meeting arbitrary performance metrics such as primitive "DPS/heal/damage taken/attacks dodged" checks to avoid group scrutinity and kicks; in a guild/pre-made group setting the only objective metric would be completion time or "(reward-cost)/time" ratio instead, as these are objective but can be reliably tracked only over lengthy periods of time (similarly, the potential for misuse of tools and addons is narrowed down in pre-made group setting - they help players to improve, but aren't the absolute metric of team's performance)

2) individual doesn't matter in pre-made group setting, because he is already accepted for what he is, has no particular pressure to show off, and can instead focus on maximising group's efficiency without feeling bad for it

3) individual is the only thing that matters in a PUG group, short of successfully completing an instance - the conflict between these two distorts game meta and player perceptions of what is or isn't good, works or doesn't work

4) GW2 is not free from pressure towards selfish solutions - even the loot distribution in instanced content is based around tagging monsters, and for this to happen you need to hit a monster, and take sufficient part of it's hit points (long-term implications: inability to root out selfish mentality completely even in a pre-made group setting; erring more on the side of "(reward-cost)/time" ratio rather than completion time even if it's against group's best interests; prioritising weapons that are good for tagging over weapons best for the job).

Another example of this is design of dungeon bosses - rarely if ever hard CC (stun, knockdown) has any use due to stacks of defiant, required group coordination outweights any perceived benefits. There is a fine line to be walked here, between requiring CC as means of completion and making CC completely unnecessary or detrimental; so far GW2 is on the latter side of this spectrum, and fails to achieve competitive balance between control, support and dps builds, in turn relegating support towards increasing group's dps almost exclusively, and control towards gimped if potentially unintended strategies (spam of feedback and wall of reflection to completely neuter ranged mobs, as opposed to providing alternative cost stemming from another viable strategy).

5) build & damage calculators, DPS checks, even in-house statistical tools used by developers - are exactly what they are, just tools. They can help in discovering new builds or optimising existing ones, but most often are used by uneducated peers of the community in wrong manner. Wrong assumptions lead to wrong results. Lack of education leads to bad conclusions and assumptions alike. Finally, artificial testing environment is no rival to conventional wisdom and direct game experience of actually using a build; even then, for most intents and purposes our experiences are subjective, whereas tools used fail to account for the context.

In your pursuit of knowledge, don't fall for a trap of optimising your build for your testing environment or popular opinion (collective perception of the majority), as opposed to actual in-game results. I noticed many of you to be manipulated by numbers themselves or to use unproven (experimental) calculations to prove your goal; let me tell you something, you proved nothing but your desperation. Calculator is a tool, means to an end, not end in itself, and definitely not proof of your build's superiority (unless you all agree on the same calculations to be correct, and on the same testing environment to be used for testing, and then only draw conclusions as to effectiveness in that sterile environment, under specified conditions - in which case you theorycraft for the sake of it, or improving your testing methods as opposed to testing a build's actual validity in gaming environment).

So far I haven't seen a simulation tool so elaborate to account for movement, dodging, feinting, strategising and group dynamics. In fact, people struggle even now to produce a convincing DPS sheet for skill rotation, which would realistically account for input delay on a static target. Until that happens, you don't even have a scientific (and statistically measurable) testing environment to account for build's validity, without playing the game itself. You have no material for scientific hypothesis, even less so for a theory. Burden of proof lies on you, my fellow theorycrafters (yes, I do that too).

Next time you log to game, watch how you play. How you move, how you communicate, how you coordinate attacks. Your build is just a small part of your input-based strategy (backup armour sets & weapons, swapping major traits & utilities/elite), and just a small fraction of your output-based strategy (what you actually do with the tools given - moving, dodging, attacking etc., and to what end, what result). THIS (overly simplified) is your build. In fact, it's almost impossible to distinguish from the environment itself, including it's user (you, the player). Above is further confounded by group dynamics (how your team reacts), and environment dynamics (how mobs react to what you do). Notice a pattern? Your tools are not just incomplete and based on assumptions, they're for the most part static, and restricted by very limiting conditions for the test to be even remotely comparable to results from past and future tests.

6) Humans are not machines, we are not numbers and cannot be accounted for. In fact, we're even difficult to simulate. The folly of statistics and testing methodology doesn't lead to knowledge, if results themselves are treated as knowledge itself. Knowledge is experience, nothing else.

As for players themselves - everyone has his own pain threshold and innate abilities, both for thinking and mouse/keyboard input. Many of you might think that the only purpose of "optimising" a build is to make it best for either fastest completion time or the best reward ratio, assuming top-tier player skills of the user, unrestricted & 100% efficient communication and virtually no pain threshold or physical limitations disallowing the player from excelling at or even executing the build. Unfortunately, it's not - because even build's success has a cost.

Previous point elaborated on this already, but summarising, a build is essentially a strategy. And like all good strategies, good builds require planning, to make sure they are employed in right conditions by the right people. Hence, a real build should include:

- technical description (traits, primary equipment, inventory swap equipment, utilities & elite, variants)
- the environment it's competitive at, as well as it's specifics (labelling build as "tPvP bunker" is simply not enough - at the very least specify preferred team composition, preferred opponents/maps/circumstances and video feedback of build in action)
- advantages and caveats in it's environment, current meta
- what skills are required to utilise the build, including information on keybinds and gaming equipment, among others (is it a high-level strategy? pre-made, professional pre-made or "Joe the Average" build?)

Anything less than that I'm afraid, is just a declaration of your preferences, of what you use. Unfortunately for the reader, it conveys very little relevant information, just a bunch of data to be eventually transformed into information through factual game experience.

Elaborating on the cost itself, executing a build requires sacrifice. Time, money, skills to be picked up, physical and mental tiredness, perhaps even injury or life/health hazard (my flatmate got a carpal tunnel for his love of twitch-action FPS games). Similarly, the reward itself isn't limited to just in-game results, but can include improved RL skills (such as communication, stress management), mental benefits (better concentration, abstract thinking, better self-esteem) and the like. For this reason alone, when you design a build, ask yourself the following questions:

- who is it addressed for
- what skills are required
- what it's good for, what it's not good for, how do you maximise it's effectiveness in it's competitive area, how do you deal with critical drawbacks in unexpected situations
- how it works in a high-level strategy of it's environment, how it fits with the current meta
- in what ways build is biased by it's user, what are it's best counters (actual game experience) and what are it's best complementing factors (what team composition, what builds, why)

In essence, you have to convey your actual "know-how" into useful information. Not data, information.

7) ultimate build optimisation - optimising for risk

This point is last, because it's easiest to understand having read at least two previous points. If you know what build is good for, in what environment, employing what strategy and who is it addressed to - it is time to measure the risk of failure and potential setbacks, expected return value i.e. reward (from experience - highest return and it's circumstances, average return and description of average runs/matches/battles; theoretically highest outcome), and distinguish that risk from uncertainty.

Ideally, a build for average Joe's would maximise the fun & learning factor, provide easy entry and modest learning curve, all the while getting the job done. Secondary but not required attributes would include easier time for other members (positive synergetic effect in a team of Joes each supporting each other to their best ability), as PUGs inevitably break if they take too long to complete, require too much communication to get job done or face critical setbacks. For obvious reasons, build shouldn't require highly customised keybinds and dedicated gaming peripherals to function optimally. It's a bonus but not requirement if build provided "further reading" at the bottom, in case Joe gets bored and wants a more complicated toy to play with, becoming a better player in return.

A good real-life example of this build is sonic boon, it combines the comfort of on-demand healing & condition stripping from rune of the soldier/healing shouts with great popularity of greatswords among warrior players, and while definitely not the pinnacle of warrior's performance in this game, it gets the job done with the path of least resistance. The very reason it's popular despite it's many forum-dwelling antagonists is because the author clearly identified an audience, designed a build for it and presented information in professional fashion. If you want to make builds, start doing them properly - excel sheets prove nothing, they should be only used to help you design a build. The very moment you pop a DPS sheet to prove your credibility, is the very moment you lose it.

A bad real-life example of how to design and market a build is 9 boon knight, it pulls up excel sheet to prove it's superiority, yet actual game practice might nail down the problem to personal preferences rather than objectively superior build, strategy or technique. The author designed a build (like his many others) which he particularly excels at, yet gets defensive about it when his build's effectiveness in hands of other players is put to question. One problem among many to consider, is what is this build's ability to stay on the target, and what is it's damage in actual encounters. Does the boon burst create enough opportunity to justify build's other drawbacks? Is it's prolonged DPS actually higher than more conservative DPS builds? Does it have a competitive edge recognised by the meta, or does it argue player preferences?

Answer to above problem won't be found through forum arguments or excel sheets popping numbers, but actual in-game evaluation. Even then, it might still boil down to player preferences. Whatever you do, discard "static DPS" comparisons. You can't mathetically prove or disprove a statement of superiority, when it comes to builds in this game. Doing anything else, would be a misuse of the tools you were given, for all the wrong reasons.

Edited by Lord_Demosthene, 07 February 2013 - 03:48 PM.


#18 Wethospu

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

What's basis for "20/25/0/10/15" or "25/25/0/10/10" being top DPS? Empower/empowered allies?

Just wondering because I roll with "20/30/0/0/20" with GS/Axe/X to spam Eviscerate (Furious helps with adre-regen).

Edited by Wethospu, 07 February 2013 - 04:26 PM.


#19 Ninja Battle Lion

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

View PostNikephoros, on 07 February 2013 - 09:30 AM, said:

I don't.  10 points in Tactics opens up a lot of worlds, in that you can bring empowered, banners, longbow etc.  Adding another 10, which would come at the expense of an important dps trait to get shout cool downs is a huge mistake.  Why?  Because you should have other warriors in your group.  With 2 warriors each with FGJ and SoR, you should have close enough to 100% fury uptime in every fight.  A 3rd warrior makes it a given.  Quick Breathing is fine for soloing, but in instanced content it is too self-indulgent.

First of all, Quick Breathing is the Warhorn trait, not the Shout trait, and I would hardly call it self-indulgent. Secondly, I don't see which important DPS trait it would be replacing - I run Axe/Axe/Warhorn or Axe/Warhorn/Rifle depending on circumstances; the only ones I feel I need to hit are Strength VIII and X and maybe Discipline V or IX. What trait am I missing? Because to me it seems the Arms tree doesn't have a lot to offer Axe.

Edited by Ninja Battle Lion, 07 February 2013 - 07:17 PM.


#20 Epitaph_Blade

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 07:25 PM

View PostLord_Demosthene, on 07 February 2013 - 03:26 PM, said:

-snip-

You sir, just made The Treaty on Build-Making and Diversity of Gameplay.

I'm happy that the approach to build making isn't black and white, like OP post suggest, and that there is room for builds made to meet different playstyles, while being "enough optimal" to complete game content.

#21 KrayZ33

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:43 PM

Quote

Why do you have to lie this obviously?
Even Stigma himself admitted that his math was wrong because it was 5AM and he forgot some data.

Here is the correct math.

Posted Image

Unless you want to declare math as a wrong science you'll have to accept it's how it is.

And this is not even considering my Empowered Knight build, just the less-DPS-ish 9 boon version.
My Empowered Knight gets 80% crit chance on top of the above.

no
both % increased damage modifiers are wrong
and it only took me like 1 second to realize that

good  " science " you got there (especially the way you provided us with all the necessary information, amazing! I'm being very sarcastic atm btw)

you don't have a 38% overall modifier with your build
and you have more than 25% overall with the normal zerker cookie cutter build.

the ****?

Edited by KrayZ33, 07 February 2013 - 09:53 PM.


#22 typographie

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:53 PM

View PostNinja Battle Lion, on 07 February 2013 - 07:13 PM, said:

Secondly, I don't see which important DPS trait it would be replacing - I run Axe/Axe/Warhorn or Axe/Warhorn/Rifle depending on circumstances; the only ones I feel I need to hit are Strength VIII and X and maybe Discipline V or IX.

You didn't provide a link so I can only guess at what you're sacrificing, but Strength V is conspicuously absent from that list. Its definitely worth more damage than X, probably at least as good as VIII. Discipline XII is also a staple in axe builds. Any combination of those would probably be a better choice than Quick Breathing.

--

While my first impulse was that the OP's showing quite a bit of hubris, I don't think he says anything that isn't pretty much self-evident. Yeah, its a game and you should play it in whatever way seems the most fun to you, but expect everyone else to do the same. My definition of fun is to play with others who bother to maximize their potential for the party's benefit.

We'd all love for this to be the first MMO ever where there is no meta at all and everything is equally viable 100% of the time, but anyone who knows better saw this coming for months or years before release—and don't blame Anet for it, this is an unavoidable sociological phenomenon more than a design mistake. Be happy you have some leeway to play around with and that positioning and reflexes really do matter in this game, which is more than many games can say.

At the end of the day other good players will care how unique your skills, efficiency and attitude are, not how unique and creative you've forced your build to be.

Edited by typographie, 07 February 2013 - 09:55 PM.


#23 Ninja Battle Lion

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:31 PM

View Posttypographie, on 07 February 2013 - 09:53 PM, said:

You didn't provide a link so I can only guess at what you're sacrificing, but Strength V is conspicuously absent from that list. Its definitely worth more damage than X, probably at least as good as VIII. Discipline XII is also a staple in axe builds. Any combination of those would probably be a better choice than Quick Breathing.

Ask and ye shall receive. Also I thought Strength V was pretty much a given, my bad for leaving it unsaid.

http://gw2skills.net...FFFk6hdt5WSRZsB

Maybe it's just my playstyle but I don't use axe Burst all that much. Going Disc VI-V-IX makes a hell of a lot more sense to me than VI-IX-XII or something, and even then IX is just a petty afterthought to get me back in shape (meaning Str and Disc V maxed) in those rare instances when Evis was justified.

#24 Strife025

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:02 AM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 07 February 2013 - 11:34 AM, said:

Why do you have to lie this obviously?
Even Stigma himself admitted that his math was wrong because it was 5AM and he forgot some data.

Here is the correct math.

Posted Image

Unless you want to declare math as a wrong science you'll have to accept it's how it is.

And this is not even considering my Empowered Knight build, just the less-DPS-ish 9 boon version.
My Empowered Knight gets 80% crit chance on top of the above.

My money is on the guy who made a whole thread just to cry about other people's builds and has no build nor math to show, just plenty of butthurt but ZERO facts.

Worst math ever, what is this.

#25 Supreme

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:07 AM

It seems so counter intuitive to the way I play GW2 to just roll a build that is the same as everyone else's build.

If all warrior should do is play zerker DPS... What's the point? I like having my regen banner build on PUG dungeons, as that give my allies serious buffs and a small regen. Followed up by a little dps behind it.

I am not saying you're wrong, far from it, you're probably pretty spot on a lot Nike, but I really really like regen on my banners!

All my fun goes down a toilet. :(

Edited by Supreme, 08 February 2013 - 09:10 AM.


#26 Red_Falcon

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:16 AM

View PostStrife025, on 08 February 2013 - 01:02 AM, said:

Worst math ever, what is this.

How there is "worst" or "best" math? There is only correct and wrong math.
That math proves that a Boon zerker deals more damage with both crits and non-crits than a normal full glass cannon, which means it has more DPS.

#27 relyk

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 08 February 2013 - 09:16 AM, said:

How there is "worst" or "best" math? There is only correct and wrong math.
That math proves that a Boon zerker deals more damage with both crits and non-crits than a normal full glass cannon, which means it has more DPS.

You could at least show your calculations.

#28 Red_Falcon

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

View Postrelyk, on 08 February 2013 - 09:24 AM, said:

You could at least show your calculations.


I posted a pic with the calc on this same page.
You could at least read threads before you post.

#29 The_Blades

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:32 AM

so... if i have fun (you know... that little thing games are supposed to provide) playing in a certain way, lets say full carrion with a mace and warhorn (not even sure if it even makes sense), i should just stop having fun with that build, because someone else says the build is suboptimal, and then i have no place in the game

Because everyone knows: a game is just like real life, its not suposed to be fun, you have to be effective and get more overrated pixels than the guy standing next to you., thats all that matters. (im not saying real life is not fun, some are, others arent)

So to hell with math and stupid formulas to get x more damage. play the game and have fun. otherwise you really are doing it wong. And i realize some people have fun doing this math and thinking they're the next best thing. thats ok.

#30 chullster

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:32 AM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 08 February 2013 - 10:14 AM, said:

I posted a pic with the calc on this same page.
You could at least read threads before you post.

Explain and source each number and each calculation. You never got told in school to "show your workings out" by a teacher?

"Final expected Damage" what the * is that? I can tell you my mini pet in my storage has more "final expected damage" (91 million damage a second) than your warrior, as like your numbers, I just typed it into my response with no evidence.

Edited by Khalija, 08 February 2013 - 05:38 PM.
removed insults






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