And yes, in case you were wondering, you WILL do much more damage than an AH greatsword build with this, and still be much tankier. Though I guess that doesn't need to be said anymore in 2014. It was a thing in 2013. Blast from the past!
Why Run Hammers?
- Defensive weapon with high DPS, allowing you to "tank" large numbers of hits without having to disengage or risk dying, while still dealing high damage.
- High DPS with a good proportion coming from auto-attack. The higher the proportion of auto-attack damage relative to damage that comes from skills or other sources, the more benefit you will get from sources of group quickness, such as Time Warp or Tome of Wrath, and the less you will lose if a skill misses or is interrupted.
- Excellent group support. Provides decent support options as well as constant protection, without sacrificing DPS in the process.
- Extremely good DPS-to-survivability ratio. The hammer's sustained DPS output is literally 1-2% less damage than the minmaxed GS variant, and allows you to stack respectable vulnerability and might and gives everyone near you permanent protection uptime. If you want to play support but don't want to become one of those cleric babies in the process, this is the way to go.
- Wind-up is slow and the majority of the damage comes from the symbol, making DPS unreliable against mobs that move around a lot.
- Constant light field may interfere with other more beneficial fields, such as fire.
- Due to slow wind-up on hammer chain and lack of strong burst, doesn't clear open-world mobs very fast.
- Having 20 points locked into Honor eliminates some utility options that would be stronger with more Virtues investment, i.e. consecration support builds.
The quick version:
This is what I run:
- Runes are full Scholar. Ranger runes or Ruby Orbs are also an acceptable, lower-cost alternative if you can't afford full Scholar yet.
- Sigil is Force. For pugs, consider using Strength or Battle on one weapon to take advantage of weapon swapping.
- Full berserker (RECOMMENDED)
- Knight, with berserker jewels (FOR BEGINNERS)
- Full knight (FOR BABIES)
- DPS: Ruby Orbs, Eagle Runes, and Scholar Runes fall into this category. This would be my first default if you have no strong preference otherwise.
- Boon duration: Monk, Water, and (major) Sanctuary runes fall into this category. With the substantial buff to guardian boons in general, I don't find these to be as useful as they used to be. Nonetheless, you can stack some pretty hilariously long boons with this rune setup if that's your thing.
- Force: Safe bet for damage. Won't give you as much as Strength will, but will still work if your group is already sitting at 25 might.
- Strength: Might stacks from this will contribute more total damage than Force, but won't work if your group is already putting 25 might on you.
- Accuracy: Force is better for DPS in this case, but this will also make your damage output more consistent.
- Stacking sigils: I'm not a huge fan of these, but they are an option if you anticipate killing a lot of weak mobs.
You can obviously use lesser variants of the listed if you're cheap.
- Omnomberry Pie: Lifesteal adds additional healing and deals extra damage. Particularly good for hammers since the symbol hits once per second and will tick concurrently with your regular swings, so you will "waste" relatively few hits that fall within the internal cooldown.
- Ghost Pepper Popper: Gives 5s might on crit. Good for getting a good chunk of extra damage during the day, if your party isn't otherwise already stacking to 25 might. Obviously don't use it if any of those conditions aren't met.
- Bowl of Curry Butternut Squash Soup: Your best DPS consumable if you are already stacking to 25 might.
- Bowl of Seaweed Salad: Would be your best DPS option, except I don't think the +10% damage while moving actually works. Leaving this here in case Anet ever fixes it.
Max defensive support while still pumping out good DPS and vulnerability. Gives you Strength in Numbers which is excellent for pugs, the extra toughness stacks with the perma-prot so even the babies who can't dodge can still take massive hits and not die. If your group knows what it's doing, consider going all out with the minmax DPS variant below.
Not extremely different from the DPS variant, the primary advantage to this version is that that you can squeeze in Zealous Blade, which gives your greatsword bursts a not-insignificant boost over the above version. It's not hugely different in terms of DPS, but it's the best you'll get when toughness doesn't help as much as squeezing out every point of DPS.
This is one of the few support builds I would actually regard as useful. Basically, the combination of Two-Handed Mastery and Master of Consecrations allows you to do two Mighty Blows inside Purging Flames, and three inside Hallowed Ground. With boon duration runes on top of the +30% from Virtues, and using the Staff's Empower as well, you can actually maintain an average of 25 stacks of might on your entire party. The downside is that you do relatively crap damage. Still more than the average PVT tank AH pug though.
- Only use Mighty Blow immediately after Symbol of Protection, or if you need it for a blast finisher. Doing it at any other point will interrupt and reset your hammer chain and significantly lower your overall DPS.
- When doing blast finishers in fire fields, you need to make sure that you're not currently standing in a Symbol of Protection, since the combo field that you lay down first gets priority. If you are using the "Support Variant" of the build (i.e. no Writ of Persistence), make sure you drop the fire field after either the first or second hits of the hammer chain. This will ensure that the symbol expires before you do Mighty Blow. If you have Writ of Persistence traited, you will need to back up so you are no longer standing in the symbol before putting down the fire field.
- You can lead with Zealot's Embrace while running in, then switch to your other weapon while the projectile is still en route to the target. This will allow you to enter the fight with a burst of damage and immediately switch back to hammer.
- You should be switching between GS and hammer constantly to maximize DPS. Hammer has a stronger auto-attack but GS has stronger cooldowns. Unload your GS cooldowns and swap to hammer while they recharge for maximum effect.
Edited by GuanglaiKangyi, 07 January 2014 - 05:36 AM.