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Member Since 11 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Jul 25 2015 02:34 AM

Topics I've Started

Kits as utility skills vs. Weapons

02 July 2013 - 08:57 PM

It is my understanding that the weapon kits are intended to function as utility items "out of the box" but investing multiple traits in them should make them viable as standalone weapons.

What niche does everyone think each kit fills (or perhaps should fill if they aren't effective currently) as a utility and a weapon?

My thoughts below:

Bombs:  As a utility setup, I typically use it for the spammable fire field, and Smoke field that blinds in an area.  The snare is nice, but is again duplicated on the pistol skills.  As a weapon kit, I think it does fine in PvE, but is a bit weak without any investment in PvP scenarios where people won't actually chase you non-stop.  I also feel like the damage is too spread out between power and condition damage.  Burning isn't strong enough as a condition for top end damage, and the auto attack is one of the best power scaling attacks in the game.  I'd really like to see the auto-attack range bumped up slightly (maybe 150 range for skills 1-3) and the 2 and 3 skills tweaked to use less conditions and more direct damage.  This really should probably be the hardest hitting weapon kit available to the engineer due to the positional requirements, but it currently is not.

Elixir Gun:  This kit does a decent job of filling what I think is it's role as a support kit.  I think that it is doing a pretty good job of playing in that space without any traits at all, but I don't think the traits available really make it stand out as a weapon.  It would probably be quite a bit more attractive if the Elixir F and Super Elixir skills would benefit from 409 and HGH (possibly the other elixir traits too)

Tookit: I love the utility provided by this kit.  I struggle to think of it as a weapon kit though.  The prybar is nice, but the auto attack chain does pretty poor damage.  I think most people take this kit for the shield and magnet skills.  This probably needs to do a better job of tying into the turrets as a weapon for it to be effective.  Perhaps if it did additional damage for each turret on your bar or reduced the cooldowns of your turret overcharges when you hit them?  I feel like it is just not much of a weapon in the current state.

Does anyone else have any thoughts or ideas about the roles these kits play?

Guardian DPS Calcs - Spreadsheet

31 January 2013 - 03:10 AM

I've seen a fair bit of interesting opinions and math floating around here, so I'm going to share my spreadsheet to help people make more informed decisions.

It is by no means "ready for public consumption" at this point, but it should be functional as long as you put in the right inputs for skill rotations and things like that.  The basics like swapping out gear and traits should be fairly straightforward.

By all means, if you see something wrong, let me know.  The version I uploaded should have the build I'm currently using in for default values, for whatever that is worth.


You'll probably need to download a copy to your PC.

I'll try to answer any questions that people have, but I don't intend to do a ton of hand holding with this pre-release version.

Unselfish Tanky Hammer Build

04 January 2013 - 05:15 AM

I've been messing around with several builds over the last several weeks in an attempt to get away from using a staff for swiftness in WvW and I came across something that I actually really liked as a pretty general purpose build.

It stacks up pretty well against an Altruistic Healing Hammer build in most respects, but since it doesn't use AH, you'll actually be helping your teammates more at the cost of some self sustain in some circumstances.

My starting point for comparison was the 0/0/30/30/10 Altruistic Hammer setup that is fairly common.

The build that I've been using looks like this:

Some keys parts of the build:

Symbols:  These are the main vehicle for your group support, both offensively and defensively.  You can make pretty good use of this build with any 2nd weapon set that you like, but I find both Mace and Greatsword to be the two most effective choices due to the symbols on those weapons.

Dodging:  Vigorous Precision, Selfless Daring, and Elusive Power all combine to make dodging extremely important in this setup.  You'll basically have permanent vigor which allows you to dodge frequently, heal your allies, and buff your DPS all at the same time.

Utility skills: These are extremely flexible.  You don't need to feel tied to things that buff allies since you're not relying on AH for healing in this build.  Feel free to grab whatever works for you in any given situation.  For random open world map completion, I'll run Save Yourselves, Retreat, and Judges Intervention, but for more serious content, I'll typically run something similar to the skills in the link above.

Critical Hits: These are not key in this build.  You'll want to crit often enough to proc Vigorous Precision every 8 seconds or so, but you don't need to stack crit to do good damage with this build. Power is your friend in this setup.  It makes you hit harder with all of your attacks, and makes your retaliation even more powerful.


Soldier's (Power/Toughness/Vitality) armor

Emerald Amulets, Rings, and Earrings.  I use a Soldier's Backpack with a Emerald Jewel as well.  (I'm more concerned with the extra crit chance than the extra crit damage that I'd get from Ruby Jewels)

Soldier's Hammer
I always carry a Berserker's Hammer as well for less scary content.
For your second weapon set, I like Staff, GS and Mace/Focus or Mace/Shield the most.  Scepter is helpful also.

Runes and sigils:

2 - Superior rune of Water
2 - Superior rune of the Monk
2 - Major rune of Sanctuary

Hammer: I prefer the Superior Sigil of Force, but there are several options that would work with this build.
Alternate Weapon Set: Whatever floats your boat depending on what you like to use for weapons.



15 points for Symbolic Exposure - Since you're cranking out symbols all over the place, you can basically keep up a 5 stack of vulnerability on a large group of mobs to boost your damage, and the damage of your teammates by 5%.  This also works wonders as a cover condition in WvW situations to help muddy the waters for your condition spamming friends.

II - Fiery Wrath - 10% extra damage against burning foes.  I prefer to take Fiery Wrath since you're able to keep burning up a large portion of the time, but in WvW, I'll often swap in the Falling damage trait.  If you really like the spirit weapons, you can take advantage of Spirit Weapon Mastery in this spot as well.


30 points - This is my personal favorite trait line.  All 3 of the minor traits are fabulous and work very well together.  We're looking to buff our symbols to provide support and damage to our teammates at the same time, so we take the following major traits:

III - Writ of Exaltation - Symbols are larger.  I find that having the larger symbols allows much more freedom of movement without leaving the comfy confines of your special place.  This one is more optional, and is the one I'm most likely to swap out for WvW (to pick up shout cooldowns).

VII - Writ of Persistence - Symbols last longer.  With the hammer, you're cranking out symbols every 4 seconds or so, and adding an additional 50% to the duration of those symbols is a massive damage boost as well as improving the support functions of the symbols.

X - Writ of the Merciful - Symbols Heal Allies.  This is where you make up the bulk of the gap in sustained healing compared to the Altruistic builds.  Not only do you heal yourself for about 135 per symbol tick, you'll also heal anyone who is smart enough to stand in them as well.


25 points to pick up Power of The Virtuous.  You're really only after the first 20 points, but since you'll basically have Protection, Vigor, and Retaliation up almost all of the time, PoTV is pretty much a flat 3% damage boost, and increases from there if you're getting additional boons from somewhere else.

VI - Master of Consecrations - Faster Cooldowns and longer lasting consecrations.  I swap this trait around pretty often depending on what I'm carrying for utility skills, but it's hard to beat Wall of reflection with this trait.  You can also use this with Purging flames to get 6 stacks of might up pretty much permanently.  When I'm carrying shouts instead of consecrations, I'll usually use Vengeful.  The Spirit Weapon trait is another viable choice for this slot for the times you need a shield etc.  

IX - Absolute Resolution - Improved Virtue of Resolve healing and Removes 3 conditions when triggered.  This is the other big survivability improvement over the AH builds.  You get a flat 26 extra healing per second at all times when your virtue isn't on cooldown, and you also get a 'burst' condition removal for your whole group.  I find that the passive 10 second removal from the signet does a good job of cleaning up the annoying conditions, and paired with this trait, you can now clean off the really dangerous ones on demand.

Some Numbers for the Math inclined:

You will basically have the following healing regardless of how many allies you have around you.
132 - Virtue of Resolve
135 - Writ of the Merciful
Total self healing - 267 HP/Sec

You will also provide 135 HP/Sec. to anyone standing in your symbols for up to an additional 540 HP/Sec to your group.  

Total Self + Group healing potential - 807 HP/Sec.

Compare this to the AH build with the following basic assumptions:

Vigorous Precision proces every 5 seconds on cooldown for 72/5 = 14.4 HP/Sec
Symbol of Protection 60% uptime for 72 * 0.6 = 43.2 HP/Sec for each person in the symbol
Empowering Might procs every 2 seconds for 72/2 = 36 HP/Sec for each person in range
Stand Your Ground used on cooldown every 24 seconds for 72*2/24 = 6 HP/Sec for each person in range
Hold the Line used on cooldown every 28 seconds for 72*2/28 = 5.143 HP/Sec for each person in range
Retreat used on cooldown every 48 seconds for 72*2/48 = 3 HP/Sec for each person in range

You can basically maintain the following healing output on yourself with those ideal conditions

Solo - 213
2 People - 306
3 People - 399
4 People - 493
5 People - 586

You can see that in ideal conditions, the AH build and the Symbol build are pretty close for self healing with 2 people in symbol range, and the AH build pulls away rapidly as you add additional bodies.  It is worth noting that when you include the potential contribution to OTHER players, the non-AH build does more total healing than the standard AH build.

The Symbol build gains the following flat damage bonuses.
10% to burning foes - Easily maintained through VoJ activation on single targets, roughly 50% uptime from solo passive procs
Roughly 5% thanks to Symbolic Exposure Vulnerability stacking
roughly 3-5% thanks to Power of the Virtuous (Protection, Vigor, Retaliation and Might are up a large part of the time even when solo)
10% from Elusive Power
Thanks to the additional Power, the Symbol build gains an additional 15 damage per retaliation proc (which should be up near 100%)

Using the simple Power adjusted Damage calculation, this build would end up with

Pow Prec CritDmg Crit% Multiplier
1910 1306 0.5 22.57% 1.112857143
1910 * Multiplier = 2125 * (1.05) * (1.05) * (1.04) * (1.1) = 2632
Health 17615
Armor 2919

Compare to the AH Build with Ruby Jewels x6, Berserker Shoulders/Gloves/Boots, and Knights gear everywhere else.  This build only gets the flat 10% elusive power flat damage bonus.

Pow Prec CritDmg Crit% Multiplier
1708 1696 1.04 41.14% 1.42783619
1708 * Multiplier = 2438 * (1.1) = 2634
Health 14095
Armor 3169

The damage numbers are very similar, but the Symbol Build also provides a 5% buff to anyone else attacking the targets in the symbols.  The additional scaling for the Symbol build also goes up as you add other boons and additional uptime on burning.

In short, this build is another approach to get personal results similar to the cookie cutter AH build with fairly good group support.  I'm pretty happy with the way it's been playing over the last several days, but I'd love to hear some thoughts from other people if they give it a shot.

PvP vs. PvE Knight's set is hurting Guardian balance

17 December 2012 - 05:49 AM

I posted this on the GW2 Official Forums, but I thought I might get more feedback here.


With all of the noise about the Vigorous Precision change in the recent patch and how that impacts Altruistic healing builds in particular, I feel like sharing a theory about why balancing the guardian seems to be so tricky.

Generally speaking, condition damage stats are terrible for Guardians, so if you want to do damage, you have a choice between Power/Precision/Crit damage stats on your gear.

With the low HP pool that a guardian has, going full Berserker’s gear is almost suicide, so your best two choices become Knight’s and Valkyrie’s if you want to maintain a balance of survivability and damage output. Unfortunately, Valkyrie’s gear gives you additional crit damage, which doesn’t help much unless you are already using a fairly high crit build.

Here is where I believe the problem lies. In both PvE and PvP, the Knight’s set offers 2 offensive stats and 1 defensive stat to help achieve some balance between survivability and damage output. The difference is, in PvP, you gain a significant boost in your most critical area (HP), while in PvE, you gain a ton of toughness.

The baked in class mechanics already do a pretty decent job of reducing incoming damage (Aegis, Numerous sources of Protection etc.), but don’t do a lot to mitigate burst damage or heavy condition damage sources.

The reason the AH builds are (yes, they were nerfed, but they are still) so powerful is that the steady stream of incoming heals compensates for the low HP pool, and allows the toughness/protection/aegis to multiply the effect of that healing.

Contrast the PvP Knight’s set with the PvE set and you can easily see why frequent PvP players might feel that Guardian survivability is out of line with the level of damage they are able to do, while in PvE (or WvWvW especially) a guardian is forced to give up more damage (by moving towards Soldier’s gear) or feels more vulnerable to burst/conditions.

I believe that if people had access to the same stat splits that exist on Knight’s Gear in PvP in the PvE world, the guardian would be in a much better place without any other changes to the class.

Fake Edit: I realize that you can mix and match Pow/Prec/Crit and Pow/Tou/Vit gear and get in the same ballpark from a damage/survivability standpoint, but having a high crit rate is arguably more beneficial (Vigorous Precisions, Empowering Might, Sigils etc.) than having a ton of bonus crit damage.

An example of what PvE/WvWvW stats would look like using the PvP stat split is something like this:

I realize there are two gems in there, that's pretty close to the total stat allocation in exotic PvE gear though.

I think most people would be pretty happy with something like that as a starting point for a balanced guardian, as compared to somebody with a meager 13k HP in the PvE Knight's Set.  You could certainly afford to roll in some more damage oriented gear or "Tankier" gear if you wanted to from that starting point.

2H Balanced Guardian Build

22 August 2012 - 04:16 AM

Most of the balanced builds I've seen posted have all revolved around the Sword/Focus and Scepter/Shield.  I figured I'd post the build I've been having a decent level of success with, and get some feedback and possibly let some other people play around with it.


It basically has a lot of built in defenses through extended boon duration on Protection, in addition to the relatively high Toughness and Vitality in the build.  It's pretty simple to keep up 100% uptime on Protection and Retaliation, in addition to high uptime on Might, Stability (and Swiftness if you opt for the staff over the GS).  Each one of those buffs adds damage through Power of the Virtuous.  The reasonably high Power allows you to do decent damage, which when combined with the Retaliation you can keep up on the group makes you fairly efficient at killing people, while still keeping you pretty well protected.

It plays well in groups because of the massive boon duration and the highly desirable Stability and Retaliation boons.  It also can take advantage of nearly every combo field that gets dropped with a 4s cooldown blast finisher.

I use Renewed Focus because being able to put up AoE Regeneration, Protection, and Stability for reasonably long duration (in addition to the active effects of the Virtues themselves) and reset the Virtues and pop those again for the whole group has proven to be more valuable as a game changer than ToC with this spec.

The build is fairly reliant on boons to be effective, which makes it somewhat vulnerable to corrupt and other heavy boon removal abilities, but it also does a very good job of re-applying those boons in very short order, so I haven't found that to be as large of a weakness as it sounds.

Some variations that I've run include using the Staff instead of the Greatsword if you want nearly perma-Swiftness.  I've found the Greatsword to be more useful for AoE condition removal on a pretty short cooldown, and very nice for in combat mobility with the leap.

I also have rotated through any combination of Signets Bane, Wrath, and Judgment.  If you run with Judgment, you'll have to be more active about using Hammer Bash to keep retaliation up, but it is still not too difficult to keep 100% uptime without the signet.

Overall, I find this setup allows me to do a fairly good job of playing defensively when needed, but the built in defense in the build will basically allow me to go fully offensive from a playstyle standpoint without opening myself up to too much damage.  It doesn't kill things with incredible speed, but it does make things dead without too much trouble.