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Hamartia's S/D Elementalist Build; DPS + might-stacking

scepter/dagger elementalist dps zerker

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#1 Hamartia

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 07:39 PM

If you feel like it, do me a personal favor and help encourage Anet to improve Meteorlogicus; I am very unhappy with the changes made to it by the 9/3 Patch:
https://forum-en.gui...rst#post2765311

Last Updated 9-14-2013
-Updated recommendations based on whether you are planning on running min/max groups or PUGs. Lower-DPS and/or Pure S/D versions like 30/20/0/0/20 really shine in disorganized groups and I wanted to emphasize that a bit.

Update Notes 8-24-2013:
-All builds tweaked to take into account Stone Splinters being fixed
-Improved Sigil Recommendations
-Improved organization and clarity
-Reduced clutter by removing non-optimal build options
-Uncreative_troll checked my math to make sure 20 Air was really more DPS than taking another 10% damage boost. As long as you are running Arcane Blast and Arcane Wave, 20 air comes out ahead by a few percent.
-Improved detail of gear recommendations after realizing I was accidentally discouraging Knights armor.

===Hamartia's S/D Elementalist Build===

June 25th buffed this build by an insane amount. I really believe these are the best options available for Elementalists in PVE by a fairly wide margin. Credit to JNeko for pointing out to me the synergy between this build and Lightning Hammer. Thanks!

What This Build Brings:
  • All builds here provide 100% fury uptime to party. (10-20% DPS boost to party)
  • Depending on the build you choose, you can provide from 10 Might to party at a minimum, all the way up to 25 Might solo with 30 arcane. (15-35% DPS boost to party)
  • Great damage, great AoE.
  • Lightning hammer.
I. The Five Builds

To make this a bit simpler, I have sorted the builds in order of how much I recommend them for the average player. So if you read the first build and like it, you don’t have to read the rest.

Builds 1 and 2 pretty much require a Lightning Hammer. Versions 3 and 4 can be run with Arcane Shield instead-- these will stack more Might as a result, supporting your group more at the expense of your own DPS.

1. Scepter/Dagger & Lightning Hammer: 30/20/10/10/0 (min/max)
http://gw2skills.net...rxUuER1SBExCA-e

This is the version I highly recommend. However, if you don't plan on getting the recommended Sigil of Battle, then run version 2.

Use Scepter/Dagger to stack Might and Fury, then swap to Lightning Hammer and spam 1 for very high damage. You can attunement swap freely while using Lightning Hammer to gain the minor trait you prefer and to proc Sigil of Battle if needed. Can maintain 100% Fury uptime and around 10-15 Might stacks uptime to party, and Sigil of Battle provides 6 more Might stacks to self (210 power/cond damage).

Since you can weapon swap while in Lightning Hammer, I recommend Sigil of Battle for this version, so you can make sure that you are hitting 25 might yourself. If your groups regularly hit 25 Might, build #2 will probably be more effective, or just swap to Sigil of Accuracy of you prefer the versatility.

Note that for all builds, you can trade 20% reduced fire cooldowns for more Lightning Hammer charges. This means you stack less Might, but get to spend more time using your Lightning Hammer.

2. 10% More LH Damage Version: 30/20/0/20/0 (min/max)
http://gw2skills.net...rxUuER1SBExCA-e

Compared to the above build, this has 20% less damage while using S/D, but 10% more damage while using Lightning Hammer in water attunement. You must remain in water attunement while using LH, so Sigil of Accuracy is used on offhand instead of Battle.

This is the best choice in terms of min/max in perfect groups that are hitting 25 Might. You are also giving yourself and your entire group Soothing Mists, which stacks with regen while using LH. If your groups can handle the loss of some Might and Fury, (because someone else is providing them, or can pop fire fields for you) consider taking extra LH charges.

If you don't run Arcane Blast and Wave, then 10 Earth will beat or come very close to 20 air.

3. High Support: 30/20/0/0/20 (PUG)
http://gw2skills.net...rxUuER1SBExCA-e

Sacrifices 20-30% damage from the above builds. Not a small sacrifice at all.

However, 20 Arcane reduces your attunement cooldown enough that you can solo stack 25 might when needed. It also allows you to gain your choice of Arcane utilities--- Renewing Stamina, Final Shielding, Elemental Attunement, or Arcane Mastery.

This build also works really well for pure S/D gameplay. This is currently what I personally run in PUG groups with Final Shielding and Elemental Attunement.

Note that 30/0/10/10/20 should be nearly identical if you prefer the minor traits.

4. Maximum Support and/or Pure Scepter : 30/0/0/10/30 (PUG)
http://gw2skills.net...rxUuER1SBExCA-e

I will take a moment to admit that this is the version I consider the most fun.

This is the original build that can easily stack 25 might for your party by yourself. It does the least solo damage, but the HUGE offensive (and defensive) support makes this the best build for highly disorganized groups where you are pretty much the only one providing any boons or condition removal. This is the build I personally run most of the time when I am pugging, with Lightning Hammer swapped to Arcane Shield.

Note that you need to be in water for 5 seconds for Soothing Mists to proc.

5. Pure Lighting Hammer; Minimal Support: 20/20/10/20/0 (min/max)
http://gw2skills.net...rxUuER1SBExCA-e

Does not provide any Fury to your party. This is now the best pure Lightning Hammer build for when other people in your party are providing Might and Fury. You can still stack some Might during hammer downtime.

25/10/10/25/0 and 25/20/0/25/0 should be very close. if someone finds one of these to pull ahead, please let me know.

II. Rotation With Lightning Hammer:

Take a deep breath. :)

The gist of this is to pop all of your combo finishers inside of Ring of Fire (fire 4) to stack AOE might and some additional burning.

Start in fire, use 2, Dragon's Tooth. Use 4 to throw down your fire field under Dragon’s Tooth and at your target. Use Arcane Blast and Arcane Wave. Use Fire 3 inside of your fire field. Use Fire 5 from melee range, use Fire 2 again.

Swap to Earth. Use 4. Begin cast 5, swap to air, 3, 2. When Churning Earth finishes casting, use RTL, and then use air 2 again. Stay in air until fire cool down resets.

Back to fire. 2, 4, 3—

Create Lightning Hammer, Spam 1, 3rd attack in chain is a blast finisher that stacks some additional Might/Fury.

If you want to stack some additional might, wait until right after you create a fresh fire field to spawn lightning hammer, as this can get you two additional blast finishers.

Then basically repeat this loop as best as you can, depending on how your cool downs line up. The ideal scenario is this: you have used Scepter to buff your group with 25 might and 100% fury uptime—and then you’re using the Lightning Hammer as much as possible for maximum damage. In actual practice, Lightning Hammer versions of this build can only provide around 15 stacks of Might in ideal situations.

Ask other classes to add provide Fire fields, and you can stack Might while using Lightning Hammer (3rd strike is a Blast Finisher). Any group with a Guardian and an Elementalist can hit 25 might using Lightning Hammer spam because of Purging Flames and Hallowed Ground.

Running with a Ranger? You provide 100% Fury uptime, so their Warhorn is USELESS. Ask them to swap it to a Torch and suddenly they can provide you with an 8 second fire field every 30 seconds-- great synergy with Lightning Hammer.

III. Rotation Without Lightning Hammer:

*Rotation video with 30 Arcane, no hammer (update pending):*


Maybe you hate Lightning Hammer. That is all right with me!

This version does much less damage, but provides 25 stacks of might. It also allows you to pick up your choice of Arcane traits and opens up one of your utilities for Arcane Shield.

The gist of this is to pop all of your combo finishers inside of Ring of Fire (fire 4) to stack AOE might and some additional burning.

Swap to Fire and before reaching target, use 2, Dragon's Tooth. Use 4 to throw down your fire field under Dragon’s Tooth and at your target. Use Arcane Blast and Arcane Wave. Use Fire 3 inside of your fire field. Use Fire 5 from melee range, use Fire 2 again.

Swap to Earth. Use 4. (Use Arcane Shield if its your utility choice) Begin cast 5, swap to air, 3, 2. Churning Earth finishes casting. Stay in air until you can use RTL. (Or, to proc Soothing Mists, swap to water after air 3, 2, stay in Water for 5 seconds spamming 1, then back to Fire.)

Then start again in fire.

IV. Gear

A perfect player in ideal circumstances can rull full Berserker gear with Scholar runes. However, I took to recommending 3x Soldier's (helm, legs, chest) to provide survivability more on par with other classes. This is, in my opinion, the healthiest mix of survival and DPS for most players.

Celestial exotic armor is now even better than Soldier's for adding a bit of survivability without costing too much DPS. Celestial ascended, sadly, is still a very poor choice.

This is a rough ranking of how to get the most survival while sacrificing the least damage. Stay as close to the top of the list as possible.

1. Full Zerker
2. Celestial Helm, Chest, Legs-- Rest Zerker.
3. Knights Helm, Chest, Legs-- Rest Zerker
4. Full Celestial armor. Zerker Trinkets and weapons.
5. Soldier's Helm, Chest, Legs, Zerker trinkets
6. Full Knights Armor, Zerker Trinkets

If you PUG a lot and your groups aren't hitting 25 Might, then 2x Might (or Boon) duration and 4x Ruby Orbs will be a good, cheap option. Full boon duration is also far from terrible with this build if you run in less than optimal groups frequently.

V. Leveling Build:

This also happens to be the most fun and powerful leveling build I've tried across several classes. You can change the order you grab the talents to suit your own needs. I usually just ran with 3 signet to be lazier—air for movement speed, earth for toughness, fire for critical chance. Swap in the level 80 utilities for fun, practice, or when they start to feel effective. Arcane Blast/Wave and Signet of Air is probably a healthy balance. This follows the same rotation as the level 80 build.

Level 10—Start investing in points to get 10 Arcane.

Level 20—10 Arcane for Elemental Attunement--the burst of protection before casting churning Earth helps a lot along with the CD reduction on attunement swap.

Level 30—10 fire for 10% damage in fire and the Power stats. 10 Earth is about equally good now or better now.

Level 40—20 Fire for Cooldown Reduction, 10 Arcane. Alternatively grab extra lightning hammer charges, and focus on leveling with a lightning hammer.

Level 50—10 Water for 10% damage over 90% health and regen in attunement. 10 Earth probably the better option now.

Level 60—30 Fire for Persisting Flames, 10 Arcane, 10 Water.

Level 70—30 Fire, 20 Arcane, 10 Water.

Level 80—30 fire, 30 Arcane, 10 Water. Your choice of the above builds.

VI. Other Scepter Notes:
  • Rock Barrier provides 250 Toughness. Using it as a damaging move provides 5 projectile finishers—great for extra burning, regen, or condition removal in a light field.
  • Frost Aura, Lightning Strike, and Blinding Flash can be cast off the GCD while another move is channeling. This also applies to Arcane Wave, Shield, Blast, and Power.
  • Phoenix provides vigor, condition removal, and is unblockable.
VII. On Elementals:

A much more viable choice after recent buffs.

Fire Elemental does the best damage, and great AoE. However, it only has 9300 health.

Air elemental has 14,500 health, deals less damage, and does no AoE, but it attacks from range and provides swiftness—the better choice for heavy AoE fights where Fire elemental will get downed. The damage difference between air and Fire is not that huge in single-target situations, and it will stay alive far more often.

Ice and Earth both have 21300 health and attack in melee. Earth Elemental does less damage than Fire and Ice, but is very hard to kill and provides a small amount of AoE Protection. Great choice if party starts wiping and your heavies start going down and you need a quick tank.

Ice Elemental does meh damage, but chills enemies and, on a 25 second cooldown, can cast cleansing wave for a 6570 heal.

When you have an active Elemental, consider it your job to keep it alive. Water 3 and 5 are invaluable.

VII. Thanks for reading! Critique away!

For additional reading, check out my Guide to Min/Max Dungeon Groups With Any Class Composition:

http://www.guildwars...ss-composition/

Edited by Hamartia, 14 September 2013 - 06:31 PM.


#2 Elrathan

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 04:36 AM

What's your opinion on might duration runes instead of ruby orbs?

#3 Hamartia

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:56 PM

View PostElrathan, on 14 June 2013 - 04:36 AM, said:

What's your opinion on might duration runes instead of ruby orbs?

I am going to be testing out if boon duration is even necessary to maintain 25 might in real life scenarios. I know against a dummy you can maintain 25 might pretty easily, but it becomes harder in a real boss fight with movement and knock backs and such.

With the extra blast finisher from evasive arcana, you should be able to maintain 25 might without any boon duration super easily.

2x rune of strength 4x ruby orbs might be a smart choice just to be safe, especially if you aren't bothering with elemental attunement. Or, if you're into Divinity Runes, 2x rune of strength, 4x divinity. (when they finally fix rune of strength so that the 5% damage bonus works, it might be a smart full set)

It might also be a complete waste to socket boon duration because this build can easily do 25 stacks of might without it-- and I don't really want to strive for 25 (unless it is incidental), since I think its a reasonable expectation that 3-4 stacks of might come from someone else in the party.

Edited by Hamartia, 14 June 2013 - 01:09 PM.


#4 Hamartia

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:15 PM

**Some testing on might duration:**

Without using evasive arcana, because I find it unreliable:

20 stacks of might can be maintained with 0 boon duration on gear (30% boon duration from Arcane traits). Dips down to 18 sometimes, peaks at 25 sometimes. This is probably ideal for most groups, since other classes will bring at least SOME might. Therefore, I recommend rune of the scholar over boon duration runes.

Adding 20% might durations (2x rune of fire), and you can maintain 25 might solo without evasive arcana. Again, don't think 25 might solo is a worthwhile goal in most practical situations.

----

Using Evasive Arcana, 25 might can be maintained solo with 0 percent boon duration if executed absolutely perfectly. It will drop down to 23 at a few points in the rotation.

Therefore, I think Rune of the Scholar is the best bet. If your group is lacking on might, be sure to add the extra earth dodges to maintain 25 might.

--

Alternative is 2x Rune of Fire, 4x Divinity or 4x Ruby orbs if you want to make maintaining might significantly easier for yourself. If you find your groups not hitting 25 might otherwise, this is the best choice.

With the full boon duration + elemental attunement-- maintaining 25 might solo is trivially easy.

Edited by Hamartia, 15 June 2013 - 06:18 PM.


#5 Phenn

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 09:33 PM

Thanks for the build! It's re-opened the Ele for me and I may actually succeed in fully leveling one now. I'll let you know more as I progress.

#6 Hamartia

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 01:30 AM

View PostPhenn, on 15 June 2013 - 09:33 PM, said:

Thanks for the build! It's re-opened the Ele for me and I may actually succeed in fully leveling one now. I'll let you know more as I progress.

Happy to hear it!

I actually figured out the majority of this build when I was like level 15 and unhappy with the options I had-- so much suspense waiting to get to 80 to see if it would actually play out how I theorycrafted it would. =)

#7 aspi

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:27 PM

Well hmm just gotten used to my d/d ele, do you think the scepter in main hand can compete with the dagger main? Lighting whipp alone makes is almost worth the d/d.

#8 Hamartia

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:57 PM

View Postaspi, on 25 June 2013 - 07:27 PM, said:

Well hmm just gotten used to my d/d ele, do you think the scepter in main hand can compete with the dagger main? Lighting whipp alone makes is almost worth the d/d.

Given the patch today, I dont think d/d can compete with s/d any longer. S/d already did better damage, D/d only had 100% fury duration to its advantage. As of today, d/d does 5% less damage due to water trait nerf and both builds now have access to 100% fury uptime.

#9 Khadroth

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:48 PM

Couple of questions:

Any particular reason for vital striking (water) over bolt to the heart (air)?  Be it math-based or just the other options available to water's adept line adding utility, I'd just like to hear your thoughts.

Also with phoenix (especially now that it's got better velocity) why take renewing stamina and force yourself into the Elemental Attunement vs. Evasive Arcana debate?  Seems like a good compromise unless you're in a very dodge heavy situation.

#10 Hamartia

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:32 PM

View PostKhadroth, on 25 June 2013 - 08:48 PM, said:

Couple of questions:

Any particular reason for vital striking (water) over bolt to the heart (air)?  Be it math-based or just the other options available to water's adept line adding utility, I'd just like to hear your thoughts.

Also with phoenix (especially now that it's got better velocity) why take renewing stamina and force yourself into the Elemental Attunement vs. Evasive Arcana debate?  Seems like a good compromise unless you're in a very dodge heavy situation.

I haven't actually looked at a spreadsheet, but in terms of pure damage, I think they should be about equal, including the stats. Water basically gives free vitality and regen, which I prefer.

Water is worth 10% damage, I assume 100% of the time. Bolt to the heart is worth 6.66% damage, along with 100 precision and 10% crit damage. I imagine bolt to the heart VERY narrowly ends up doing maybe 1-2% more damage. I'd have to see a spreadsheet to be sure; if someone can figure out the exact difference that'd be great.

That being said, I find the water minor trait to be helpful in a lot of situations-- although maybe its a bad crutch to rely on, since your damage is such crap when you're in water. Also, this build tends to front load a lot of damage right away; in a lot of shorter fights, that 10% for the whole fight and beginning will be worth more than the 20% at the end.

I'll test out bolt to the heart and see how it feels. You may be right.

Phoenix provides very low vigor uptime. With this build, I find that pretty much everything is dodge-heavy; not only to survive, but also to quickly get into and out of your fire fields and to use evasive arcana.

If you can swap out renewing stamina without noticing-- then hell yeah go for it. I've tried without it and I immediately feel broken. :P

There's not really much different between those two builds-- in  future updates to this thread I will probably stop suggesting a boon duration option altogether depending on if its necessary to maintain fury, which I don't think it will be.

Edited by Hamartia, 25 June 2013 - 09:39 PM.


#11 Hamartia

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:33 PM

May be migrating over to this build soon:

https://forum-en.gui...rst#post2285291

Basically, use air damaging moves instead of fire once everything is on CD.

300 more precision, 30% crit damage over OP, along with 6-8 stacks of vulnerability.

Edited by Hamartia, 25 June 2013 - 10:33 PM.


#12 aspi

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 07:58 AM

View PostHamartia, on 25 June 2013 - 07:57 PM, said:

Given the patch today, I dont think d/d can compete with s/d any longer. S/d already did better damage, D/d only had 100% fury duration to its advantage. As of today, d/d does 5% less damage due to water trait nerf and both builds now have access to 100% fury uptime.
Damn, so not only regear but also traits. Too bad I am poor :)

#13 Hamartia

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 04:13 PM

View Postaspi, on 26 June 2013 - 07:58 AM, said:

Damn, so not only regear but also traits. Too bad I am poor :)

Run some CoF! Can grab zerker scepter/dagger. What gear are you running now that you need to swap out?

#14 JNeko

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 09:28 PM

This build definitely got stronger with the patch, and I've been playing around with ways to make it stronger.

So far, I've been doing 30/30/0/10/0. I take Fire VI VII XI, Air VI VII XI, Water VI

I'm not convinced that Fresh Air really helps out. To be honest, it looks like the best thing you can do is sit in Fire attunement rather than swapping attunements, because switching to Air leaves you with two burst moves and then nothing much for a good long time.

If you play a build like this, I think staying in Fire the entire time is probably the best you can do.

I'd also seriously consider adding in the Conjure Lightning Hammer trait in here because you're already deep in the fire tree as is. Lightning Hammer can be your "swap" after your burst is gone.

Otherwise, looks nice! I prefer Dagger/Focus but this build definitely brings the Fury and Might.

Edited by JNeko, 26 June 2013 - 09:31 PM.


#15 aspi

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:57 AM

View PostHamartia, on 26 June 2013 - 04:13 PM, said:

Run some CoF! Can grab zerker scepter/dagger. What gear are you running now that you need to swap out?
The adviced knights gear if you start with d/d ele. But I think I can get some zerker weapons and change some of my gear towards more berserker too. It looks like fun, just like d/d is fun.

#16 Khadroth

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:06 PM

View PostJNeko, on 26 June 2013 - 09:28 PM, said:

This build definitely got stronger with the patch, and I've been playing around with ways to make it stronger.

So far, I've been doing 30/30/0/10/0. I take Fire VI VII XI, Air VI VII XI, Water VI

I'm not convinced that Fresh Air really helps out. To be honest, it looks like the best thing you can do is sit in Fire attunement rather than swapping attunements, because switching to Air leaves you with two burst moves and then nothing much for a good long time.

If you play a build like this, I think staying in Fire the entire time is probably the best you can do.

I'd also seriously consider adding in the Conjure Lightning Hammer trait in here because you're already deep in the fire tree as is. Lightning Hammer can be your "swap" after your burst is gone.

Otherwise, looks nice! I prefer Dagger/Focus but this build definitely brings the Fury and Might.

I wouldn't advise slotting the conjure trait as it just costs you a better fire trait in the long run without giving you much dps at all.  It's really only advisable in a devoted conjure build.  That said, it probably is a great idea to rock the lightning hammer utility skill for dps downtime, you just shouldn't need it for long enough to warrant the 10 extra conjure charges.

#17 JNeko

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 03:07 PM

View PostKhadroth, on 27 June 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

I wouldn't advise slotting the conjure trait as it just costs you a better fire trait in the long run without giving you much dps at all.  It's really only advisable in a devoted conjure build.  That said, it probably is a great idea to rock the lightning hammer utility skill for dps downtime, you just shouldn't need it for long enough to warrant the 10 extra conjure charges.

The difference between Hammer's DPS and Ele's normal weapon sets is quite large. I believe that with the new patches, the Lightning Hammer build with 30 in Fire will basically want to use Scepter/Dagger for the initial Might+Fury stacking. Honestly, using Lightning Hammer with the Conjurer trait seems like the natural progression for this build.

I won't mention it any further though, so as to not to derail the topic. I plan to cover it later myself in another guide.

Edited by JNeko, 27 June 2013 - 03:08 PM.


#18 Hamartia

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:06 AM

View PostJNeko, on 26 June 2013 - 09:28 PM, said:

This build definitely got stronger with the patch, and I've been playing around with ways to make it stronger.

So far, I've been doing 30/30/0/10/0. I take Fire VI VII XI, Air VI VII XI, Water VI

I'm not convinced that Fresh Air really helps out. To be honest, it looks like the best thing you can do is sit in Fire attunement rather than swapping attunements, because switching to Air leaves you with two burst moves and then nothing much for a good long time.

If you play a build like this, I think staying in Fire the entire time is probably the best you can do.

I'd also seriously consider adding in the Conjure Lightning Hammer trait in here because you're already deep in the fire tree as is. Lightning Hammer can be your "swap" after your burst is gone.

Otherwise, looks nice! I prefer Dagger/Focus but this build definitely brings the Fury and Might.

I think you're right. 30/30 is mostly worth it for traits like 10% crit damage and the 300 precision and 30% crit damage. Might only really be worth it when RTL is available so you have at least one more quick damager available.

I had a lot more fun with Arcane and I might spend some time trying to convince myself that it is worth running Arcane (it's not, especially given vulnerability and such).

I'd be interested in hearing how lightning hammer could be integrated into something like this without becoming its own build entirely. It does seem like this build gives up more % damage increases than it should to get the most out of lightning hammer.

Taking a few moments to stack might/fury along with lightning hammers damage might make Ele powerful enough to be an obvious choice for all min/maxed groups, since warriors will not be bringing as much might.

I do find the idea of playing Ele without perma vigor a bit unappealing, but it is a cool 10% damage increase by going 10 water.

Edited by Hamartia, 28 June 2013 - 12:09 AM.


#19 JNeko

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 12:52 AM

Definitely take perma-vigor if that's your thing. I would too. I was just trying to speak in theoretical min-maxed land.

I am working on the guide and will try to get it in before Sunday. I'll be speaking on the SOAC Ele podcast for the state of Eles in PvE Dungeons and Fractals, so that's why I'm posting a ton and trying to gather as much info as I can.

#20 hatchet

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:07 AM

I've tried your 30/0/0/10/30 since the update to persisting flames and it's pretty good. Like before this patch the only way you could provide significant team fury was taking 10 points in air for zephyr's boon and 30 points in water for aura sharing. In addition there was signetmancer which would take 20 points in fire for fire's embrace (and optionally 10 in earth for elemental shielding). Signetmancer builds allow you to maintain permanent group fury and swiftness, with a decent protection uptime (if you take 10 in earth) with boon duration gear/food.

What I like about 30/0/0/10/30 is you're providing more group fury uptime than cookie cutter auramancer and traiting more into fire instead of defensive traits in water. What I like over signetmancer is you're not forced into using signets in utility slots, but can still maintain perm group fury, and you get more might stacking due to traiting 30 into arcane, along with the benefits of the traits in that line and especially the attunement recharge.  You can also run staff with blasting staff without retraiting.  With that 10 in water you can also swap out vital striking for cleansing wave if you're not staying above 90%hp often enough or if the group really needs additional help with clearing conditions.

In groups where there are other classes bringing significant might/fury I can see that you'd still not be that essential, but then neither would auramancer/signetmancer.  But in pugs (which is where i play mainly incl fractals), it's been pretty good so far.

I've tried 30/30/0/10/0 with s/d and the thing I really don't like about it isn't just that you're squishy, it's purely the attunement recharge & scepter auto attack. You're taking traits to buff fire (persisting flames and maybe also lowering fire spell cooldown), but the attunement recharge is 16s which I find limiting.  In addition scepter auto attack in any attunement is really lack luster. So with fresh air, even though air attunement recharge resets in 5s on crits, you're still putting other attunments on a 16s recharge to be able to switch back to air. And when back in air, your main damage dealing abilities don't reset cd with fresh air (even though you do proc Electric discharge for a bit of single target burst). I'm finding there's a larger autoattack window and potential time to be locked out of a given attunement with scepter in this trait distribution in longer fights which is not ideal.  I've very briefly tried fresh air in pvp and think it might work with with elemental attunement and the 15pt minor trait in arcane. Because each time you swap back into air you get atleast 5s swiftness and 2s of fury (arcane fury) in addition to the electric discharge.
Edit: Zoose has an updated S/D guide for PvP where he uses the new fresh air trait in 0/30/0/10/30 which looks pretty good for a burst dps build in that mode.   http://www.guildwars...h/#entry2214935  (i know this is the PvE forum, but his video guides and explanations are good).

I haven't tried conjures with the 30/30/0/10/0 build but maybe that's an option (stack fury/might with all your blast finishers and then auto with LH until your burst cooldowns are up).  Although after playing a lot of engineer recently you get spolied with how fast kit swapping is and then wish that ideally conjured weapons would behave more like kits.

Edited by hatchet, 28 June 2013 - 01:20 PM.


#21 JNeko

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 01:48 PM

View Posthatchet, on 28 June 2013 - 11:07 AM, said:

I've tried your 30/0/0/10/30 since the update to persisting flames and it's pretty good. Like before this patch the only way you could provide significant team fury was taking 10 points in air for zephyr's boon and 30 points in water for aura sharing. In addition there was signetmancer which would take 20 points in fire for fire's embrace (and optionally 10 in earth for elemental shielding). Signetmancer builds allow you to maintain permanent group fury and swiftness, with a decent protection uptime (if you take 10 in earth) with boon duration gear/food.

What I like about 30/0/0/10/30 is you're providing more group fury uptime than cookie cutter auramancer and traiting more into fire instead of defensive traits in water. What I like over signetmancer is you're not forced into using signets in utility slots, but can still maintain perm group fury, and you get more might stacking due to traiting 30 into arcane, along with the benefits of the traits in that line and especially the attunement recharge.  You can also run staff with blasting staff without retraiting.  With that 10 in water you can also swap out vital striking for cleansing wave if you're not staying above 90%hp often enough or if the group really needs additional help with clearing conditions.

In groups where there are other classes bringing significant might/fury I can see that you'd still not be that essential, but then neither would auramancer/signetmancer.  But in pugs (which is where i play mainly incl fractals), it's been pretty good so far.

I've tried 30/30/0/10/0 with s/d and the thing I really don't like about it isn't just that you're squishy, it's purely the attunement recharge & scepter auto attack. You're taking traits to buff fire (persisting flames and maybe also lowering fire spell cooldown), but the attunement recharge is 16s which I find limiting.  In addition scepter auto attack in any attunement is really lack luster. So with fresh air, even though air attunement recharge resets in 5s on crits, you're still putting other attunments on a 16s recharge to be able to switch back to air. And when back in air, your main damage dealing abilities don't reset cd with fresh air (even though you do proc Electric discharge for a bit of single target burst). I'm finding there's a larger autoattack window and potential time to be locked out of a given attunement with scepter in this trait distribution in longer fights which is not ideal.  I've very briefly tried fresh air in pvp and think it might work with with elemental attunement and the 15pt minor trait in arcane. Because each time you swap back into air you get atleast 5s swiftness and 2s of fury (arcane fury) in addition to the electric discharge.
Edit: Zoose has an updated S/D guide for PvP where he uses the new fresh air trait in 0/30/0/10/30 which looks pretty good for a burst dps build in that mode.   http://www.guildwars...h/#entry2214935  (i know this is the PvE forum, but his video guides and explanations are good).

I haven't tried conjures with the 30/30/0/10/0 build but maybe that's an option (stack fury/might with all your blast finishers and then auto with LH until your burst cooldowns are up).  Although after playing a lot of engineer recently you get spolied with how fast kit swapping is and then wish that ideally conjured weapons would behave more like kits.

I agree with basically all of this, and this has been my general impression of Scepter in PvE (good if the battle is short, but lackluster once you're out of CDs). I personally have tried using Hammer with this though and it seems to solve a lot of those problems. Just do the typical Fire 2 4 3 5 2 4 rotation, then summon the Hammer.

#22 Hamartia

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:01 PM

View PostJNeko, on 28 June 2013 - 12:52 AM, said:

Definitely take perma-vigor if that's your thing. I would too. I was just trying to speak in theoretical min-maxed land.

I am working on the guide and will try to get it in before Sunday. I'll be speaking on the SOAC Ele podcast for the state of Eles in PvE Dungeons and Fractals, so that's why I'm posting a ton and trying to gather as much info as I can.

Ah, that's awesome!

If there's one piece of information I'd like to be more readily available, its that I think an S/D build like I have posted here is literally the best PUG class in the game. 25 might is worth 35$ damage, fury is worth 10-20%. An Elementalist can provide both-- making even the most horrible party do a TON more damage than you would expect them to. Whenever I play on my Ele, I have a "wow this group does a ton of damage" moment, even if its classes/builds/weapons that I know do crap damage.

Thanks for the feedback Hatchet and Jneko. To be honest, my playtime has been very limited after some quick time playing due to the patch.

Now, I agree with everyone that 30 air FEELS worse. It would take more math than I'm willing to do to prove that it is better.

However, here's the gist of what 30 air adds:

8 stacks of vulnerability, 300 precision, 30% crit damage, 10% crit damage (from air talent using arcane), lightning strike on swap to air.

From arcane, you lose some great stuff in terms of fun/utility, but nothing really essential. In fact, this build doesn't even need CD reduction--- theoretically, you only need to swap attunements every 30 seconds.

I highly doubt that arcane can compete with that in terms of pure damage.

I do think that abandoning fresh air and not swapping to air very often is going to be the right choice.

So basically-- Arcane felt awesome because it adds some very noticeable improvements to your elementalist. But I think air just adds too much more damage to be ignored.

Edited by Hamartia, 28 June 2013 - 02:09 PM.


#23 Khadroth

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:08 PM

The problem I tend to encounter is the simple over abundance of warriors still in groups.  That generally means I don't need to bring fury to the group because it's providing only a small benefit.  I love fury, but I just don't wind up needing a perma stack, since I can already get it on swap for only a 5 point investment in arcane. I will say that if you're not going into fire to grab persisting flames though, you better at least go deep into lightning to help compensate for the crit chance.

As a result I ran Phoenix's, 0/30/10/0/30 build last night in CoE explorable (with 3 warriors, sigh) and TA story later with some guildies. And I have to say it did some crazy damage sheerly by virtue of stacking might and jumping in lightning and out to another attunement as fast as possible.  A couple of observations for anyone interested:
-If contemplating a variant of a fresh air centric build, you really need at least 20 points in arcane.  Otherwise you simply won't have the other attunements off lockout fast enough to repetedly and fully utilize the fresh air/electric discharge proc, and will find yourself just waiting around with everything else on CD for awhile.
-After your fire rotation for restacking might, you're going to want to hit air immediately before and after going to any other attunements to max dmg. Don't interrupt the fire rotation for fresh air procs though unless the group can maintain 25 might without you, as it's crucial to your dmg output.
-Don't wait around for skills in lightning to come back up either, get in, pop 2/3/4 (and even 5 if you want) if they're up, and get out as fast as possible.  In all likelihood you'll find yourself stuck in lightning anyways for a second with the rest of your attunements on CD.
-It's fairly squishy, but still has decent survivability thanks to the 10 in earth, and being able to use water's evasive arcana.  If you're having trouble run cantrips at first.  When you get more used to it, segway into all arcane skills. That said, expect to tank quite a bit without a guardian present.
-If you've been playing with persisting flames, you're going to miss the fire field duration, a lot.  I find it very hard to fit all my fire blast finishers (even using DT before RoF) in while still trying to get off a fire grab, let alone swapping through lightning to earth for it's two finishers.  I still have to play around with this rotation a bit.

Traits I used:
Air: Bolt to the Heart, Air Training (or Aeromancer's Alacrity), Fresh Air
Earth: Stone Splinters (Yes I know it's bugged and only 5%, debating changing to water instead for vital striking)
Arcane: Arcane Mastery (if rocking Arcane skill utilities), Elemental Attunement (don't feel the need for perma vigor in PvE, Phoenix and natural regen seem to 95% of situations), Evasive Arcana.

#24 Hamartia

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

View PostKhadroth, on 28 June 2013 - 02:08 PM, said:

The problem I tend to encounter is the simple over abundance of warriors still in groups.  That generally means I don't need to bring fury to the group because it's providing only a small benefit.  I love fury, but I just don't wind up needing a perma stack, since I can already get it on swap for only a 5 point investment in arcane. I will say that if you're not going into fire to grab persisting flames though, you better at least go deep into lightning to help compensate for the crit chance.

As a result I ran Phoenix's, 0/30/10/0/30 build last night in CoE explorable (with 3 warriors, sigh) and TA story later with some guildies. And I have to say it did some crazy damage sheerly by virtue of stacking might and jumping in lightning and out to another attunement as fast as possible.  A couple of observations for anyone interested:
-If contemplating a variant of a fresh air centric build, you really need at least 20 points in arcane.  Otherwise you simply won't have the other attunements off lockout fast enough to repetedly and fully utilize the fresh air/electric discharge proc, and will find yourself just waiting around with everything else on CD for awhile.
-After your fire rotation for restacking might, you're going to want to hit air immediately before and after going to any other attunements to max dmg. Don't interrupt the fire rotation for fresh air procs though unless the group can maintain 25 might without you, as it's crucial to your dmg output.
-Don't wait around for skills in lightning to come back up either, get in, pop 2/3/4 (and even 5 if you want) if they're up, and get out as fast as possible.  In all likelihood you'll find yourself stuck in lightning anyways for a second with the rest of your attunements on CD.
-It's fairly squishy, but still has decent survivability thanks to the 10 in earth, and being able to use water's evasive arcana.  If you're having trouble run cantrips at first.  When you get more used to it, segway into all arcane skills. That said, expect to tank quite a bit without a guardian present.
-If you've been playing with persisting flames, you're going to miss the fire field duration, a lot.  I find it very hard to fit all my fire blast finishers (even using DT before RoF) in while still trying to get off a fire grab, let alone swapping through lightning to earth for it's two finishers.  I still have to play around with this rotation a bit.

Traits I used:
Air: Bolt to the Heart, Air Training (or Aeromancer's Alacrity), Fresh Air
Earth: Stone Splinters (Yes I know it's bugged and only 5%, debating changing to water instead for vital striking)
Arcane: Arcane Mastery (if rocking Arcane skill utilities), Elemental Attunement (don't feel the need for perma vigor in PvE, Phoenix and natural regen seem to 95% of situations), Evasive Arcana.

Honestly my issue with air focused builds is that compared to fire, the damage is single target and... a lot less. There's really no perk to air over fire except in heavy movement fights, of which there are only a few in the game.

So I just don't see a point in S/d focused builds that focus on air for PVE. I think d/d would probably be a better choice for air focused builds because lightning whip is the hardest hitting 1 move we have, with DPS, if im not mistaken, nearly on par with Scepter air 2.

Spending some time looking at other options for this build that i hadn't considered.

30/25/0/15/0

Highest DPS variant while only taking actually useful traits. Abandons fresh air because swapping to air wasn't really worth it.  Gains 250 precision, 25% crit damage, 20% damage when below 33% health, 10% crit damage when using an arcane ability, and 8 stacks of vulnerability.

Also gains back some survival from water, where it takes 10% damage over 90% health, and adds the 5 points to heal on swap to water to get some survivability back, especially without vigor. Can swap this over to air for a small damage increase if you prefer.

Alternatively, if your groups hit 25 vulnerability or you don't care about providing 8 stacks for 8% damage to party:

30/20/0/10/10

10 arcane allows you to grab arcane mastery, which makes keeping the 10% crit damage from air up 100% of the time very easy. Or you can choose to grab vigor, or elemental attunement. This is probably going to be my favorite variant.

If you want to hit 20 arcane to grab any of the other useful things, drop 10 water, or drop 10 air if you really feel you need soothing mists for survival.

Edited by Hamartia, 28 June 2013 - 02:34 PM.


#25 hatchet

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 02:41 PM

View PostHamartia, on 28 June 2013 - 02:30 PM, said:

Alternatively, if your groups hit 25 vulnerability or you don't care about providing 8 stacks for 8% damage to party:

30/20/0/10/10

10 arcane allows you to grab arcane mastery, which makes keeping the 10% crit damage from air up 100% of the time very easy. Or you can choose to grab vigor, or elemental attunement. This is probably going to be my favorite variant.
Alternatively if you want to glass cannon and as you mention the group already has 25 stacks of vuln, another option could be to take 10 from arcane and put in to water for Piercing Shards for +20% damage boost (when the target has vuln and you're in water). Drop your S/D burst for stacking might/fury and switch to water while churning earth is channelling in your fire field. Then use LH but only while in water attunement to get the constant +20% damage.  But yeah points in arcane definitely provides more flexibility.

Edited by hatchet, 28 June 2013 - 03:06 PM.


#26 Khadroth

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:07 PM

View PostHamartia, on 28 June 2013 - 02:30 PM, said:

Honestly my issue with air focused builds is that compared to fire, the damage is single target and... a lot less. There's really no perk to air over fire except in heavy movement fights, of which there are only a few in the game.

So I just don't see a point in S/d focused builds that focus on air for PVE. I think d/d would probably be a better choice for air focused builds because lightning whip is the hardest hitting 1 move we have, with DPS, if im not mistaken, nearly on par with Scepter air 2.

Spending some time looking at other options for this build that i hadn't considered.

30/25/0/15/0

Highest DPS variant while only taking actually useful traits. Abandons fresh air because swapping to air wasn't really worth it.  Gains 250 precision, 25% crit damage, 20% damage when below 33% health, 10% crit damage when using an arcane ability, and 8 stacks of vulnerability.

Also gains back some survival from water, where it takes 10% damage over 90% health, and adds the 5 points to heal on swap to water to get some survivability back, especially without vigor. Can swap this over to air for a small damage increase if you prefer.

Alternatively, if your groups hit 25 vulnerability or you don't care about providing 8 stacks for 8% damage to party:

30/20/0/10/10

10 arcane allows you to grab arcane mastery, which makes keeping the 10% crit damage from air up 100% of the time very easy. Or you can choose to grab vigor, or elemental attunement. This is probably going to be my favorite variant.

If you want to hit 20 arcane to grab any of the other useful things, drop 10 water, or drop 10 air if you really feel you need soothing mists for survival.

I have to admit I was skeptical of fresh air at first.  Let me say I'm a believer after using it now, the deal is you NEED points in arcane for it.  That by default creates a problem with fire specs, since persisting flames and arcane fury are redundant. Fire specs don't need arcane for much, and are thus wasting fresh air's true potential if they're going deep into air.

I'll say this, fire is actually a fairly poorly designed tree, save it's traits.  Power is always great, but condition duration does very little for us (if you're sitting in earth as a scepter wielder, you're doing it wrong) as most other classes will overwrite your bleeds and burning stacks duration anyways.  The passives are lackluster: flame barrier is worthless, and sunspot has a tiny radius and deals mediocre dmg (less than ED), leaving only burning rage as a decent one in the grandmaster tier (despite the fact that it's as useful as most classes' adept level passives).  The only reasons to go fire is for it's power and active traits.

A player does not necessarily do more aoe dmg by speccing into fire.  In general, the scepter is very poor at aoe.  Highlighting a lack of aoe dmg is merely pointing out the weapon's fault, not any particular spec's.  In fact, an arcane spec with evasive arcana will likely blow a fire spec out of the water for aoe potential.

I'm not saying this spec is the end all, but don't knock it until you've tried it.  People aren't looking past persisting flames at the moment, which is all the more reason that people need to consider other options.

As to your other points, Arcane Lightning does not stack which needs to be kept in mind, as it's worthless when you've got a warrior dropping a discipline banner.  I've always had a love-hate relationship with vital striking.  It's very hard to maintain 90%+ health on a lot of encounters, for me it's really going to depend if stone shards is working as intended with a glitched tooltip, or whether it's bugged and the tooltip is correct, because it's just a far more consistent bonus to your dmg.  That said, I've always loved the extra utility available to the water tree over earth.

#27 Hamartia

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:16 PM

View PostKhadroth, on 28 June 2013 - 03:07 PM, said:

I have to admit I was skeptical of fresh air at first.  Let me say I'm a believer after using it now, the deal is you NEED points in arcane for it.  That by default creates a problem with fire specs, since persisting flames and arcane fury are redundant. Fire specs don't need arcane for much, and are thus wasting fresh air's true potential if they're going deep into air.

I'll say this, fire is actually a fairly poorly designed tree, save it's traits.  Power is always great, but condition duration does very little for us (if you're sitting in earth as a scepter wielder, you're doing it wrong) as most other classes will overwrite your bleeds and burning stacks duration anyways.  The passives are lackluster: flame barrier is worthless, and sunspot has a tiny radius and deals mediocre dmg (less than ED), leaving only burning rage as a decent one in the grandmaster tier (despite the fact that it's as useful as most classes' adept level passives).  The only reasons to go fire is for it's power and active traits.

A player does not necessarily do more aoe dmg by speccing into fire.  In general, the scepter is very poor at aoe.  Highlighting a lack of aoe dmg is merely pointing out the weapon's fault, not any particular spec's.  In fact, an arcane spec with evasive arcana will likely blow a fire spec out of the water for aoe potential.

I'm not saying this spec is the end all, but don't knock it until you've tried it.  People aren't looking past persisting flames at the moment, which is all the more reason that people need to consider other options.

As to your other points, Arcane Lightning does not stack which needs to be kept in mind, as it's worthless when you've got a warrior dropping a discipline banner.  I've always had a love-hate relationship with vital striking.  It's very hard to maintain 90%+ health on a lot of encounters, for me it's really going to depend if stone shards is working as intended with a glitched tooltip, or whether it's bugged and the tooltip is correct, because it's just a far more consistent bonus to your dmg.  That said, I've always loved the extra utility available to the water tree over earth.

Wait Arcane Lightning doesn't stack with banner of discipline?

#28 Khadroth

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:22 PM

View PostHamartia, on 28 June 2013 - 03:16 PM, said:

Wait Arcane Lightning doesn't stack with banner of discipline?

It never has stacked, hence the reason no one bothered to take it when it was 3%.  That's the reason why I almost never rock it with Air, I can't remember the last time I did a dungeon without a warrior.

Edited by Khadroth, 28 June 2013 - 03:27 PM.


#29 Hamartia

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:27 PM

View PostKhadroth, on 28 June 2013 - 03:22 PM, said:

It never has stacked, hence the reason no one bothered to take it when it was 3%.  Even signet of fire overwrote it at that point lol.  That's the reason why I almost never rock it with Air, I can't remember the last time I did a dungeon without a warrior.

I assumed this was fixed in the most recent patch.

#30 Khadroth

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 03:30 PM

View PostHamartia, on 28 June 2013 - 03:27 PM, said:

I assumed this was fixed in the most recent patch.

"Arcane Lightning: This trait now grants a non-stacking 10% bonus critical damage for 15 seconds after using an arcane utility skill."

They honestly couldn't make it stack with the banner.  It would be overpowering considering our ability to achieve autocrits.




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