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Sithicus Dias

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Lifesteal - An Acute Approach from a Dual Axe Warrior

14 February 2013 - 11:24 AM


I have to say I wasn't overly sure where to post this, since Lifesteal itself is a general mechanic, it's very unbiased. However the best method of pulling it off appears to be high hit rate characters, which is where a Dual Axe Warrior comes into play. This is just something general I was thinking about, and I thought i'd throw it out there as food for thought. As you'll see, it couldn't be simpler to build yourself to Lifesteal, all you need is Pie...


Lifesteal – An Acute Approach from a Dual Axe Warrior

I’ve been consistently running a Dual Axe Warrior build for some time now. I tend to like to make a build, run with it for a lengthy period, fine tune it, and then start writing about it. This idea originally arose from my desire to test the efficacy of Lifesteal as a mechanic of survival. Lifesteal occurs in a number of forms, whether it is a Sigil or Skill, this build ultimately centres on the Omnomberry Pie.

I chose to run Dual Axes for two reasons. Firstly, DA is woefully underestimated. The vast majority of Warriors seem to prefer Greatsword for damage-oriented builds. I however don’t like GS at all, I find Hundred Blades (while demonstrably the most powerful skill in the game, by a fair margin) far too restricting in the harsher environments of the game (i.e. Arah and higher tier Fractals). Ultimately that’s what any build should do, it should optimize you for difficult content, that way you develop something that is universally viable. The second reason for choosing DA over GS is that most Lifesteals proc on a hit/crit, and the hit rate of DA is the highest on any Warrior weapon. I did some off the cuff timing of the #1 (Chop -> Double Chop -> Triple Chop) combo, and it averages at around about 3.6 seconds. Given the combo strikes 6 times, that’s roughly one hit per 0.6 seconds. Axes actually used to be able to strike even more frequently, since you used to be able to Attack-Cancel at the end of Double Chop, and reset the combination (Triple Chop is a slightly less economical use of time than Chop -> Double Chop). So by Cancelling into any of your other axe skills, you obtained a higher hit rate. I think by cancelling you obtained something along the lines of 6-8 more strikes in a 20 second period.  In comparison, a GS strikes 3 times in 2.4 seconds, showing a hit rate of once per 0.8 seconds. It doesn’t seem like much, but just picture that over a long boss fight… In addition to this, Axe #5 hits an obscene amount of times, and if you’re lucky, 5 enemies too.

Anyhow, introduction aside I’m not going to labour the build too much, it’s essentially a fully damage focused axe build, what I want to delve into is the Lifesteal mechanics themselves. I haven’t found many examples of people really looking into them. Remember this is from the PoV of a Warrior, so there are no skills that actually provide Lifesteal within the class (the only skill that comes to mind anyway is Signet of Malice on the thief).

Without further ado…

The Build:

Strength: 20 – Berserker’s Power – Dual Wielding
Arms: 10 – Rending Strikes
Defense: 0
Tactics: 10 – Inspiring Banners
Discipline: 30 – Heightened Focus – Signet Mastery – Adrenal Reserves

Essentially the trait setup revolves around being able to use Eviscerate (Axe Burst Skill) off cooldown. The Discipline line allows much quicker Adrenaline Gain, plus a 20% CD reduction on Burst Skills. Eviscerate tends to hit around 10-12k every 8 seconds. The Strength line covers the bread and butter Berserker’s Power, a staple 12% bonus damage at max Adrenaline, a must have for any damage build. Axe Mastery grants 10% extra Crit Damage while you have an Axe in your OH. Tactics gives the Inspiring Banners trait which allows enough of a cooldown reduction to maintain a banner constantly and apply to a wider radius. The Banner used is the Discipline Banner, for extra Precision, and disproportionate 10% crit damage… for the whole party!

Utility Skills used are For Great Justice, Shake it Off and Banner of Discipline. Elite Skill is Signet of Rage. Utilities are negotiable, but you REALLY need that banner, it’s a huge DPS boost for the whole team.

As for Equipment, I chose Knight’s Gear with Rubies in the Accessory and Back slots. Knight’s is essentially a staple for any Warrior playing in melee. In this way, Warriors should stack at least one defensive stat on their armour, Berserker is incredibly difficult to pull off in difficult content, and tends to not be worth it for the frequent Downs. Knight’s ensures you have a solid grounding in Toughness (this comes back around as Offensive later). If you’ve read my post on Survivability, you get an understanding of why Toughness in particular is important for a Warrior.

Sigils and Runes. I’ll cover these in the Lifesteal section.

Nourishment. Omnomberry Pie is the staple food, again will cover it below. The other source of Nourishment is a choice between the max tier Maintenance Oil and Sharpening Stone. These buffs provide 6% of your Toughness and 4% of your Vitality as Precision/Power respectively. From experience I have found the Oil provides around 10% crit chance (210 Precision), and it adds to your “White” crit chance, not the “Green” buffed text. It depends if you want the extra crit or more damage *behind* your crits with Power.

A lot of this stuff isn’t set in stone, there are a million ways to make a Dual Axe build, so don’t take this specific setup to heart, no matter what you do it still takes you 3.6 seconds to perform a Triple Chop combo (well, aside from a little Quickness ;) ). I did this to prove a concept, and at the same time see what content I could get away with running a very offensively oriented DA build (Arah P4 and Tier 20 Fractals can be done relatively effectively).

The Mechanics of Lifesteal:

Firstly some general points:
  • Edit: I originally thought Lifesteal did not steal any life, however fellow Guru posters have shown that it does. However there is no evidence in the Combat Log, and the actual Lifesteal damage can be difficult to spot, but it is there.
  • The amount of Life stolen does not depend on the damage you do, it depends on a pre-defined event, such as a Crit or a Weapon Swap.
  • The amount of Life stolen is tied to your Level, and occasionally it is slightly affected by Healing Power (to the tune of roughly 1% of your HP adding to the Steal).
Why Lifesteal?

I was asking myself the same question several weeks ago, since the various sources of Lifesteal are few and far between to say the least, they also don't appear frequent enough to actually justify lifesteal as a mechanic to build around. Lifesteal however is a viable mechanic to build yourself to, because if you can hit frequently enough then you massively increase your survivability while still focusing on your offense.

In addition to the above, I theorycrafted Vigorous Shouts as a healing support build, but in order to provide that Healing effectively, you sacrifice your damage. I'm not saying Lifesteal is better, but in terms of a personal range, Lifesteal allows you some Healing while still building around damage. With the help of some simple maths, you can calculate just how much Health you gain per second.

Sources of Lifesteal

Skills. This is where I have to admit I don't have any idea how effectively the various skills/traits that provide Lifesteal work. Since there are no Warrior Lifesteal skills, the methods I used were above specific Race/Class combos.

Sigils. Superior Sigil of Blood. This Sigil gives you a 30% chance to steal life on a Crit. The amount stolen is 453 + 0.1*(Healing Power). I used this Sigil in the beginning and it was ok, but I was testing it on a Training Dummy and sadly the cooldown is NOT 2 seconds like the tooltip says, but more like 5 seconds. For someone with zero Healing Power, this is effectively 90 Health per second. Overall that's quite paltry, it's nowhere near the big numbers you need to survive. Oh and it's only 90 Health per second if by some miracle you crit AND proc the Sigil every 5 seconds.

There is also Superior Sigil of Leeching, which causes your next attack after a Weapon Swap to steal life, in the amount of 975. I briefly ran a Four Axe build in order to exploit Weapon Swap Sigils, and I ran one of these on each Axe. However if you notice the cooldown is 10 seconds, which roughly makes this Sigil worth how much? 97.5 health per second roughly. Again that isn't much. But if you combine a Sup Blood and Sup Leeching, you're starting to hit roughly 180 Effective Health per second. Not bad...

Remember with Sigils though, when one is on cooldown, the other cannot activate, so the 10 second cooldown on Leeching is inhibiting your Sup Blood. So while 180 EHP/s was starting to look appealing, it is diminished by Sigil Crashing.

What about Runes? Well there is only one to choose form, Superior Rune of Vampirism. Well the 4 piece bonus has a 15 second cooldown and heals for 975, comparatively worse EHP/s than Sigil of Leeching. In addition a 5% chance to Life steal on your next attack when you are struck is incredibly paltry. You can't really even begin to quantify that, nor rely on it as a reliable Lifesteal.

Ok so I admit, it looks pretty bleak right now, the above dismisses Sigils and Runes as truly effective methods of Lifesteal, your options are pretty limited at this point, which is why I saved the best two until last.

As ever, the understated and rarely built around Combo Fields can give you Lifesteal. The wiki says Lifestealing Combos are:

Dark Field + Physical Projectile = 202 + 0.1*(Healing Power) in Health
Dark Field + Whirl = 170 + 0.05*(Healing Power) in Health

Now this is slightly ambiguous, in that the greatest shortcoming of a Warrior is a complete lack of Combo Fields (except for one on the Longbow, which in other news is among the worst Warrior weapons). However, since the combos listed are very open-ended, you can decide for yourself how useful they are. Given the right finisher, you can secure some good health from this. I'm sure you Dual Axe Warriors have seen what happens when you use Whirling Axe inside a Combo Field, you fire a number of "Bolts" of Combo Finisher around to adjacent allies, which can be pretty handy inside a Dark Field.

For those who aren't too familiar with Combo Fields (let's face it they're a bit of an understated mechanic, and occur a lot from shear luck, rather than being built around), a Physical Projectile finisher usually occurs from some kind of Ranged attack and may have a 20% finisher attached to it. The effect of a Combo generated from a Physical Projectile is on the enemy, or on allies adjacent to the enemy.  As for a Whirl finisher, you fire "Bolts" in a random direction, originating from yourself, and they will go on to damage enemies or heal allies. Given the nature of ejection of Whirl Finishers, it's hard to seal any real benefit unless you're surrounded by nearby allies. There is a mathematical term called "Abbe Error", which is a measure of error in position from being at a slight angular offset. If for example you move 1000 metres at 0 degrees, somebody else moves 1000m at 1 degree, you'll be quite far apart. In this way the real benefit of Whirl finishers is in melee.

Let's broaden the Physical Projectile finisher into a scenario:

A Necro/Thief places down a Dark Field, a Shortbow wielding Ranger is auto-attacking an enemy with Crossfire, through this Dark Field. Crossfire has a half second lead time, and a 20% finisher. This effectively means a 1 in 5 chance of stealing life, and you attack roughly 5 times in 2.5 seconds. In this way, you are "guaranteed" a Steal within that time frame. Now picture your 4 allies attacking the mob in melee, they benefit from your Steals. You are base healing them 202 for each Steal, which across 5 seconds is only 40 Health per second.

However, the majesty of a Combo Field Lifesteal is in the Escalating Factors. For example, the Ranger might proc a Quickness when he sees the Dark Field Down, that effectively doubles the Lifesteal to 80 Health per second. The next bit is anecdotal at best. What I cannot clarify is whether attacking multiple mobs procs multiple fields, i.e. does the Axe auto attack for a Ranger proc up to 3 times with projectile bounces? If so, there is a triple multiplier possibility to the Lifesteal. In this way you can see how different skills can escalate the effects of a combo field. The Ranger example is merely one scenario, so get creative with Dark Fields!

Now we've come to possibly the consummate method of Lifestealing, yes, you guessed it... Pie! Seriously though, it's Pie. Why are you laughing at me?

Omnomberry Pie has a 66% chance to steal life on a Crit. The amount stolen is 325 at Level 80. There is no internal cooldown on this, and it's a Food Buff! This is borderline OP, most Warriors will agree with me on that, and the only reason a Lifestealing build is valid for a DA Warrior. I've shown some off the cuff calculations so far to demonstrate Lifesteal as a continuous Healing source, but I need to elaborate more here for you to appreciate just how obscenely powerful this Food Buff is.

Do excuse the basic mathematics to follow, all I'm trying to achieve is to show a very basic point in terms of demonstrating a very under-approximated level of Healing, and how that Healing can escalate with Crit % and Weapon Speed.

So consider the Timing of Strikes I mentioned before, let's look at the GS which hits once every 0.8 seconds. You have a Crit chance of 70%, and then Omnomberry has a 66% proc chance. Probability shows us that for 2 subsequent events to occur, you multiply their probabilities:

Chance to Crit * Chance to Proc Food on Crit = Chance to Proc Food on Hit
0.7 * 0.66 = 0.462

So you can say relatively confidently, 46% of my strikes are going to result in stealing 325 Health... Nice. Now if we consider a series of 100 strikes, this takes 80 seconds to complete. 46 of those Strikes are Lifesteals, giving 46*325 = 14950 Health stolen. Divide this total by the time taken, 80 seconds, results in 186.9 Health per second, and that is reliable, with no cooldown outside of your attacks. But that's a SINGLE ENEMY, imagine Hundred Blades on multiple enemies? Any GS Warrior is using Hundred Blades off cooldown, which brings your Strike Rate to a much more favourable value than 1 hit every 0.8 seconds. That is fairly significant. However, to appreciate the effect of this, lets backtrack slightly.

Omnomberry Pie procs on a crit, it does not suffer Sigil Crashing, nor are its conditions too unrealistic. The majesty of this buff though, lies in the Escalating Factors. The variables affecting your Effective Health per Second are Attack Speed, Crit chance, and Number of Enemies Struck, all of which can be modified. This is where Dual Axe comes in.

Let's take a look at another example. This time we're reflecting my sample build with Dual Axes. So we're looking at one hit every 0.6 seconds, and somewhere in the region of 93% Crit Chance:

0.93*0.66 = 61.4% to Proc a Lifesteal on HIT

100 Strikes in 60 seconds, 61 of which Crit, this rounds nicely into being around 1 crit per second, so you're effectively stealing 325 Health per second. Now imagine striking 3 enemies at a time... or using Whirling Axe on 5 enemies. The mind boggles at the expansive nature of this food buff.

This, if nothing else demonstrates why Food Buffs are such a significant mechanic in this game. Lifesteal is pretty weak apart from Combo Fields (which are stochastic at best) and are only propped up as a useful mechanic by a Food Buff. It's something to think about, especially for people who strongly dismiss Food Buffs as a useful game mechanic. I actually had a member of the guild I am in complain about Food Buffs, and likened the use of Food Buffs to a Professional Athlete using performance enhancing drugs...

Before rounding off though, there is for lack of a better word a pseudo Lifesteal mechanic...

Pseudo Life Steal

You may have noticed the line of Sigils with an "On Kill" bonus attached to them. Sigil of Restoration is one such Sigil, it applies a 670 Heal when you kill a foe. While not necessarily amazing, I've found a use for this while running my Vigorous Shouts build in Fractals. The VS build I used to use runs Mace/Shield, so the attack speed is slow and the crit rate lower, so Omnomberry Pie is out.

I noticed thought in Fractals you often find yourself wading through difficult fights with many mobs in them (i.e. Grawl, Dredge, Cliffside), so this Sigil allows you to benefit from Pseudo Lifesteal while running a Defensive and Ultra Low Crit build. So many enemies die in a short space of time, you actually manage to steal a beneficial amount of health.

There is more however, the Food Buff, Omnomberry Compote applies the same effect of Sigil of Restoration, but it heals you for around 930 health. The effects of the Sigil of Food stack, which means you gain ~1600 Health when you kill a Foe, and when you're in a situation like you face in Fractals, those 1600's just keep rolling in. While not technically Lifesteal, it acts as a sort of auxiliary method of healing yourself through those difficult encounters, so long as you keep killing.

The ideal aspect of this is that you only need to TAG the mob to get the credit for the kill. I tested this by pulling lots of enemies over to Pact NPC's and letting them do all the killing, I still got the ~1600 Health from the kill. So for builds that don't specialize in DPS, and are more tanky in nature, the combination of Sigil of Restoration and Omnomberry Compote is in some way an auxiliary form of healing for you. We've all had those encounters where you're being busted b about 20 Dredge, but then as soon as the AoE starts to fall, you gain your reward.


In summary I have dragged out a pretty long post (again). However it highlights a mechanic that can be used to build yourself around. Running DA Warrior without Omnomberry Pie is nothing short of suicidal. Omnomberry Pie, also quite ironically known as "OP" is a staple for any DPS oriented Warrior build. Often when I see myself going Down frequently, it's mostly because the Pie has worn off. More significantly though, I learned that Food Buffs are perceived by many as only a small extension to your Offense/Defense i.e. just adding more Power/Precision/Vitality etc. Food Buffs pave the way for other mechanics to Flourish. Especially since almost all of the other Lifesteal methods are paltry at best, and ultimately lead to wasted Sigil/Rune slots.

One final note though, DA Warrior is just a convenient example for an effective Lifesteal Build, it hits frequently, and crits almost as frequently. So while this post is Warrior biased, Lifesteal is completely unbiased, anyone can use Omnomberry Pie. So let's get creative and find out different ways for you all to get the most out of YOUR Pie...

Supportive Warrior Builds Part II [Numerical Analysis]

15 October 2012 - 08:33 PM

I recently wrote a post detailing three main Support Build ideas for Warriors, one of which detailed the use of Banners as a source of the Regeneration Boon, the other was the other uses Burst Healing from Shouts, and the final build idea was a Control build. Anyhow, the details of each of those builds, and the theory behind them can be found in the post “Supportive Warrior Builds [Think tank]” found here: http://www.guildwars...lds-think-tank/

I’ve been commenting on several threads that have been asking about support builds, and whether to choose banners or shouts as a source of Healing. However I’ve been challenged on one particular statement lately. I believe Shouts are a better source of healing than Banners. I’ve detailed a number of reasons why in the other thread. Shouts, I believe, give you more healing for your Healing Power, than Banners do, but I am being challenged on that (and rightly so might I add), so in this thread I am going to detail some Numerical Proof for my theory. This thread is purely to compare the Healing Support builds, so the Control build is not discussed here.

The Scenario:

Firstly, here are some opening statements to set the scene.


Banners provide you a large heal over the duration you are under their effects and the talent that makes this so is called Inspiring Battle Standard (or IBS). The other talent usually coupled with this is Inspiring Banners (IB) which reduces Banner cooldown by 20%, and increases their radius. Note however that there is no talent that improves the healing you receive from Banners.


Shouts provide Burst Healing from the Grandmaster Talent, Vigorous Shouts (VS), however in the Master slot there are two “shout augmenting” talents to choose from. Firstly there is “Shrug it Off”, which automatically activates “Shake it Off!” (SIO) if you have more than 2 conditions, it has a 30 second cooldown. Shrug it Off does NOT activate your SIO cooldown, but it does Heal you like other shouts. Secondly, there is “Lung Capacity” which reduces the cooldown of your shouts by 20%.

So those are the two over-arching methods of healing, but what about the numbers? There are equations defining both methods of healing, let’s begin with Banners (NOTE: All numerical proof is done for Level 80):

Empirical Regeneration Formula:

5+(1.563*Level) + (0.125*HealingPower) = Health per Second


t*(5+(1.563*Level) + (0.125*HealingPower)) = Total Healing Done

The symbol "t" represents Time. This equation details how Banner regeneration is dependent upon your Level, and then a factor equal to 12.5% of your Healing Power stat is added, and a constant to provide the amount of health the regeneration ticks for. The left hand side of the equation is rounded up to 130 Health per Second at level 80.

For Shouts, the equation is somewhat simpler:

Empirical Shout Formula: 1192+0.8*HealingPower = Burst Heal

The number 1192 is the amount you are healed for from a Shout at 0 Healing Power. It is important to factor however that I am assuming that you are using For Great Justice, On My Mark, and SIO as your Shouts, which equates to two 25 second cooldowns and a 30 second cooldown.

So which is better?

This is one of those occasions where it’s really hard to crunch the numbers in your head, so I used a Google Spreadsheet to crunch the numbers. Since the banner equation calculates healing done per second, and the Shout equation calculates total heal, the best way to compare these builds on raw healing is to consider a steady state period of 100 seconds (which covers the duration of a banner).

I chose an arbitrary period of 100 seconds because it gives a fair representation of what might be a short boss fight for example. It is necessary to monitor the healing over a non-insignificant period because there are plenty of subjective criteria that undermine either of these builds.

This method of calculation also allows the comparison of Cumulative Healing Done over time.

In order to compare the numbers, the healing is "normalized", i.e. the Banner Healing per second is multiplied by 100 (for each second), and in the google spreadsheet (link below), the data series shows that over 100 seconds, each cell is the cumulative value of itself and the previous cell.

The spreadsheet detailing all of the numbers and charts is found here, it is assumed from here on that you refer to this spreadsheet alongside the rest of this post:



Given that this is a theoretical comparison of two builds, it is necessary to put forward some assumptions (although I prefer Initial Conditions, as i'm sure do the rest of you Mathematicians/Engineers) Just to explain the spreadsheet a little bit, the general assumptions of this model can be found as:
  • At Time, t=0 you use all of your shouts, and re-use them as soon as they are cooled down (i.e. with Lung Capacity, by 20 seconds you will have used 3 shouts at t=0, and your two 20 second cooldowns are now reused, hence 5 shouts have been performed by 20 seconds).
  • For the “Shrug it Off” data series, this is highly theoretical, unrealistically so in fact. It is assumed that at t=0 you use all 3 shouts, and that at every possible opportunity, your automatic SIO procs as well. This is generally unrealistic, since i'm fairly certain there is no such overwhelming condition application anywhere.
  • It is assumed you remain under the effects of your Banner(s) for the entire 100 seconds.
  • There are two data series relating to Shouts, one for each Master talent that invariably affects the Healing you output.
  • The Banner healing is always a Linear relationship with time, and the only way to improve Banner Healing is via improving Healing Power.
  • Shouts have no activation time, hence it is necessary to ignore that same activation time of Banners too.

At this point I hope you are looking at the spreadsheet. Don't worry too much about what is on the first sheet, that is just the series of numbers relating to each method of healing. The shouts column is manually input for the most part as a number (of shouts) multiplied by the Healing from a shout. At 20 seconds for example, this multiple increases by 2 (up to 5), since you have in theory re-used your shouts again. This is also assumed due to Shouts having no activation time, so it can be accurately expected that the time to activate a shout, have it cool down and use it again, is wholly equal to just the cooldown.

The cases considered are the Healing received with Healing Power = 0, 900, and a Theoretical Maximum. In order to explain the "Theoretical Maximum" I have tried to list all possible sources of Healing Power, and add them up, this includes:

  • Exotic Cleric's Armour: Helm = 45, Shoulders = 34, Chest = 101, Leggings = 67, Boots = 34. Total = 281
  • Weapons: MH = 90, OH = 90, Total = 180
  • Jewellery: 2x Rings = 134, 2x Earrings = 112, Pendant = 90, Total = 336
  • Miscellaneous: Tactics Banner = 90, Defense (30) = 300, Sigil of Life (25 stacks) = 250, Food = 70, Rune (of Water for example) = 165.
  • Grand Total = 1672?
I tried to consider all possible sources of Healing Power, there is Armour, Weapons, Jewellery, then Tactics Banner, Defense Line, Sigil of Life and Food. I can't think of anymore sources of HP right now.

Now to explain the Charts. These are plots of the data series' you can see in the first sheet, this is a much easier representation of healing done. First of all, the Legend:

Blue represents 3x Shout Healing, with Lung Capacity.

This series uses 3 shouts whenever possible, traited with Lung Capacity.

Orange represents 3x Shout Healing, with "Shrug it Off".

This series uses 3 shouts whenever possible, traited with "Shrug it Off", which is assumed to proc every 30 seconds.

Red represents Banner Healing.

This series represents the Healing Done from a Banner over the duration as long as you are consistently under the effects of it's regeneration.

Green represents Banner + 3x Shout Healing COMBINED.

This series looks at the combination of the 3x Lung Capacity Shouts and Banner Healing.

Purple represents 2x Shouts Healing.

This series uses FGJ and SIO only, and compares the healing to Banner regen, doesn't really require much discussion, but there are scenarios where FM is good, so here are the numbers...

Light Blue represents a World vs World idea.

This series is an idea from a commenter, who suggested using FGJ, SIO and then Fear Me! for a WvW oriented build.

It is necessary to state at this point that Shrug it Off is generally discounted as a viable comparitive tool for Healing, since to actually achieve the numbers it suggests it relies on highly theoretical assumptions (i.e. that as soon as the auto SIO cools down you will immediately have it proc again, which is largely untrue). As such, Lung Capacity Shouts will be used as the legitimate comparison.

By constructing this spreadsheet, it is clear now more than ever that Shouts are the more dominant source of Healing. At the bottom of each data column are cells with %age values, showing how much MORE Shouts heal by compared to banners over that 100 second duration.

An interesting point I followed up was to run a data set of wholly unrealistic levels of healing power for 100 seconds, and compare healing done then (see "Convergence" in the spreadsheet). The Banner healing DOES begin to converge to Shout healing, but will never overtake it, even at 20000 Healing Power (yes, Twenty Thousand!). I performed this short analysis by using the equations for Shouts and Banners, and just substituting different values of HP, and multiplied the Banner equation by 100 (seconds) and the Shout equation by 17 (that's how many shouts in 100 seconds).

The chart in the sheet named "Convergence" shows the way in which Banners converge to Shouts. As you will see, the blue line on the graph is the ratio of Shout Healing to Banner Healing (for 3 shouts), and it shows that as HP approaches infinity 3x Shouts will always be ~9% more effective, they will never meet. However for the red line, this shows the ratio of 2x Shouts vs Banner healing, and it shows that at HP approaching Infinity, Banners will be ~23% more effective.

2x Shouts, or 3x Shouts?

This is a section i said I would add in for comparing 2 shouts to Banners. Refer again to the google spreadsheet and look at all the charts again. The new purple line represents Healing from using 2 shouts (FGJ and SIO). By referring to the "Convergence" sheet, you'll see the exponential curves again, this time I added a red line to represent a comparison of 2x shout healing to Banners. Note how the line is always below 100%, and converges at ~77%, this shows the theoretical convergence between using 2 shouts compared to Banners.

The main difference between using 3 shouts and 2 shouts (with Lung Capacity) is that with 2x Shouts, you ultimately use 5 less shouts across the 100 second period.

However, for achievable levels of HP, 3x shouts are roughly ~27% more effective than Banners, and Banners are roughly ~10.5% more effective than 2x Shouts. It is important to note that adding in that extra shout (OMM) every 24 seconds (totalling 5 extra shouts over 100 seconds), goes from a -11.33% to a 25.61% margin over the test period. You can draw whatever conclusions you like from this difference, but this highlights just how pivotal it is for a VS build to hinge upon 3 shouts as opposed to 2 for maximum effectiveness.

I'm sure some of you have probably seen exponential curves like this before, as such you know that it will continue until Infinity, and they will never be equal. However, this post has relied on one great generalization, the idea that this is level 80. Theoretically speaking, what if the level cap increases? I haven't done the maths on this just yet, but the Shout Healing constant of 1192 is woefully ambiguous, and needs to be properly broken down in to a factor of Level, and possibly a constant. Once I do that, i'll be able to discern if in light of a level cap increase in an expansion, if Banner and Shout Healing might be different.

The Effect of Healing Power on each method:

I originally theorized that Shouts benefited more from Healing Power than Banners do, I was challenged on this, however by comparing the numbers for HP=900 (Lung Capacity) at 100 seconds, Shouts have healed for 32504 Health, Banners have healed for 24488, the following formula allows bonus healing done as a result of healing power to be found:

(Total Healing – Base Healing)/Healing Power = Health Healed per point of Healing Power

Hence for Shouts: (32504-20264)/900= 13.6 Health per point of HP over 100 seconds.

And for Banners: (24488-(130*100))/900 = 12.76 Health per point of HP over 100 seconds.

Note: 13.6 and 12.76 are constants, and remain the same for all values of HP (but not constant with respect to Time).

The above equations show that Shouts benefit more from Healing Power than Banners do over a non-insignificant period of time, albeit not by much. I’ll explain this further. The formula above eliminates the effect of “Base Healing”, i.e. the healing you would receive from Shouts/Banners at 0 Healing Power, and so the difference between Base and Total is the Healing you have received solely from your Healing Power stat. Dividing this by Healing Power shows how much Health is gained per point of Healing Power.

Considering that 1672 is the relative Max Healing (or if it isn't, it's certainly very very close), at this level of HP, Shouts heal 26.77% more than Banners do. Despite the convergence I showed between them, at least at realistic levels of Healing power, this is the crucial numerical proof that Shouts heal more than Banners. Note however that I said Shouts heal more, not that they are universally better...

As a short justification for the method I chose to do this analysis I'd like to explain the idea of using 100 seconds in more depth. I chose to analyze the healing done over 100 seconds, because it is trivial to consider this as a transient case (i.e. the Healing over a fleeting period of time), since the numbers would be wildly skewed in favour of shouts. Whereas 100 seconds is easily enough time to encompass an entire Banner (they seem to stay down for ~90 seconds). Like most things, you need a period of time to fully establish a pattern, for example when you switch a radiator on, the room does not instantly heat up to the desired temperature, but it probably has done after 1 hour. So if by chance, Thermodynamics is your thing and you were analyzing how fast your room would heat up, you'd need to compare the heating rate from the minimum temperature, to the maximum in order to correctly reach a conclusion.


Finally, while I think i've satisfactorily proved that Shouts heal more than Banners (even in highly theoretical, stochastic and even wildly unrealistic conditions) I’ll end on a few subjective cases to compare and contrast the builds to one another, since there are characteristics outside of the Numerical side that can alter the effectiveness of each build:
  • I’ll begin with the obvious, Banners are a gradual regeneration over time, some encounters don't see you taking devastating damage, there are plenty of cases where you might tank multiple weak mobs. Regeneration can actually allow you to not even drop health here. However with Shouts you would actually have to invoke your cooldowns... Regeneration can be seen as another "layer of defense" if you will.
  • ...However on the flip side, when you get hit for 8k, there’s nothing like blowing your shouts and recovering most of that health right back.
  • Shout Healing does benefit from two Master talents (although you may only use one at a time), whereas Banners have no such Healing augment.
  • A lot of the counter-arguments I have encountered for Shouts not benefiting as much from HP as shouts do, is that people forget the “Triple Effect”, I’ve been over the fact that for VS to be viable you need to use FGJ, SIO, and OMM, so any Healing bonus you get on your shouts is effectively tripled.
  • The results of 2x Shouts vs Banners showed that for high HP, Banners are more dominant. However at low HP, the healing effectiveness is almost identical.
  • For VS to be viable you need all 3 Shouts, for Banners to be viable, you can basically get away with 1 Banner, with a few seconds of down-time before putting it back up.
  • If by some miracle you had two Vigorous Shouts warriors, the healing provided by each would of course stack. But if you came across two Banner regeneration warriors, then sadly you wouldn't get any exponential benefit to healing, just a longer regeneration.
  • Then again, 2 VS warriors are not great either, think of all the over-healing.
  • The previous two points demonstrate how Banners and Shouts synergize perfectly, since neither build impinges on the method of healing of the other.
  • Shouts can provide a lot of condition removal, in the sense that taking 6 Superior Soldier Runes cause your shouts to remove a condition from anyone under the effects (Shake it Off now removes 2!), which is ideal as a team-support mechanism.
  • Banners provide nice buffs, Strength and Disc banners are a great DPS boost, but likewise Tactics and Defense are great for giving some extra defensive stats.
In summary, the idea of committing to Clerics Gear and going VS, CANNOT be compared to running an offensive trait spec and using Regen Banners, because at the end of the day they are different builds.

This post was generally to clarify that if you have Clerics Gear, don’t waste your talents on Banners, there are Greener Pastures for you if you run 3x Shouts. Just think about that magical Green Line on the chart showing the healing you get from running a VS Warrior alongside an IBS Warrior!

So now I leave you with this: I challenge anyone closed-minded enough to say Warriors cannot play support, here is the evidence, support your teammates!

Points to Add Later:
  • Compare the effectiveness of just FGJ+SIO vs Banner Healing.
  • Consider the effect of a level cap increase.
  • Incorporate WvW elements (including FGJ+SIO+FM).

Supportive Warrior Builds [Think tank]

13 October 2012 - 03:58 PM


This is a post written specifically for players who want to approach the Warrior class with both Team Support and Defense in mind. The following is a collective of different ways in which this can be done effectively, based on my own experiences, and those of guild-mates, and also several users in the Guru forums, of whom I have had many interesting discussions.

If Defensive Support isn’t your thing, and you want something with a lot more bite to it, please refer to the Sonic Boon build written by a friend and fellow Guru poster, Brand. Brand and I discussed Shout Warriors extensively, and together we devised a base for a Greatsword build that optimizes damage with moderate healing capacity. Brand has worked very hard testing and developing it, ironing out inconsistencies and making it what it is. Sonic Boon is a great build, and it deserves all of the attention it’s getting. I however have decided to devote my focus on the Defensive side of things.

It should be noted first of all that this post is tailored for Dungeon Runners, as such it is likely that most of what is written does not necessarily apply to WvW or sPvP, as such the explanations and justifications are tailored around PvE content, both solo and within a team.

A final note here is that while several builds are detailed here, including my own favoured setup, this post aims to highlight a specific Player Attitude, rather than rigid builds per se. My aim is to get players to experience the Supporting Paradigm, rather than the best builds. I strongly encourage discussion, and the generation of ideas here.


Supportive Warrior Builds [Think tank]

I began experimenting with the Defensive side of the Warrior Class based on my own (and seemingly many other Guru users) experiences that attempting to maximize damage through Gear and Traits is a recipe for disaster. In many ways the furore over the “Glass Cannon” approach for Warriors is difficult to appreciate unless you’ve actually experienced it yourself, you can take virtually no punishment before going down. In addition to poor survivability, another main failing of Glass Cannon builds is that there tends to be very little Team Utility, (Deep Strike Warriors, I’m looking at you...). With the simplest of Trait swaps you can instantly become a Supportive Entity by allowing some of your own skills to affect your whole team.

I’m sure we’ve all heard that ancient MMO saying “A dead DPS does zero DPS”. If you are such a Warrior, frustrated with the failings of a Glass Cannon build, I implore you to read on.

Before we get into the main body of the post, I have written another thread in parallel to this one, which takes a look into the underlying mechanics of Warriors as a Supportive Entity. In that thread, Healing capabilities are modelled mathematically, and several interesting conclusions are drawn about the ways in which you can be most effective for your team. See it here Supportive Warrior Builds Part II - Numerical Analysis.

Methods of Support:

After thinking about this extensively, I think it can be reasonably argued that Support can break down into FOUR main categories and they are Healing, Party-wide Buffs, Condition Removal and Control. These FOUR categories fall into Trait Related Support, and Gear Related Support indicating the origin of the underlying supportive mechanisms. Now to elaborate on the FOUR supporting categories:

1 – Healing

First and foremost, Healing is one of two methods of Trait Related Support. Guild Wars 2 has revolutionized MMORPGs to the effect that there technically is no Healer role like in Guild Wars 1. The Healing you are able to do is purely on a supplementary basis to your team, it cannot and will not hold your whole team up, because the whole paradigm of GW2 is not built for this. Instead your Healing should be viewed as a measure of resilience for your team in allowing each member to better mitigate enemy pressure (especially in AoE heavy areas).

There are two approaches to Healing for a Warrior, both are Grandmaster Tactics Traits. The first is Vigorous Shouts, this trait allows your Shouts to heal allies within the area of effect of your Shouts. The second method is Inspiring Battle Standard, which grants the Regeneration Boon to allies under the effects of your Banners. Since both traits occupy the Grandmaster slot, the Dichotomy of Healing reduces to Banners vs. Shouts.

2 – Party-wide Buffs

I changed the heading above from Boon Application to Party-wide Buffs. This is the second method of Trait Related Support. Warriors are somewhat limited in the boons they can supply allies (this is where Guardians become more effective for example). The previous heading (Boon Application) was somewhat misleading, since the bonuses from Banners technically are not Boons, so any bonuses you get based on the number of boons applied to not count from Banners (Empowered, for example) but that does not in any way diminish the great bonuses available, they simply are not specifically Boons.

3 – Condition Removal

Condition Removal is the first method of Gear Related Support, specifically 6 Superior Runes of the Soldier. These Runes allow your shouts to remove conditions; as such this ties in very nicely with a Vigorous Shouts Build. Condition removal is a somewhat less appreciated area, since you do not specifically spec into a condition removing build per se. In much the same way as described with Healing, your condition removal capabilities are supplementary, and when used correctly can prevent a lot of damage to allies (i.e. being able to remove large bleed stacks instantly, or high duration Poison/Burns).

4 – Control

Control is the second method of Gear Related Support, and if anything it is a slightly unconventional method of Support, compared to the previous three. The idea behind control is to dish out as many Stuns, Knockdowns, Knockbacks etc as you can to multiple enemies. To this effect, you reduce the damage that your allies take by disabling enemies. Your ability to control is derived from using a Hammer, several utility skills (especially “Fear Me!”) as well as the Mace and Shield.

I’m fairly convinced that Control is generally understated, if stated at all. Through rotating between a Hammer and a Mace/Shield combo, you can eliminate a full 5 stacks of Defiant from a Champion mob, allowing frequent opportunities to interrupt dangerous skills. If the mob is less than a Champion, then all 5 control skills severely inhibit that mob. Removing 5 stacks of defiant does not even include Utility skills.

The builds described later in the post incorporate 3 of the 4 methods of support. The builds are centred around Party-wide Buffs and/or Healing. Control and Condition Removal can be added in as well, depending on Gear Choice.

Why take on a Supportive Role?

Warriors are in a fairly unique position when it comes to Health and Armour, since they sit in the highest class for both. Warriors have base Health of 18,372 at level 80, and are members of the Soldier Armour Class (i.e. Heavy Armour users). This effectively means the Warrior is the most resilient class in the game based on latent attributes. To this effect, you are already more defensive than anyone else, and if by nothing else other than logic, that is a solid foundation for enhancing your defensive capabilities.

Support can act as a means to generate better team synergy. When you perform a role that actively affects your allies, this leads to enhanced situational awareness, and your ability to perceive the battlefield. As an example, traiting as Vigorous Shouts has gotten me into the habit of positioning myself within Shout Range of allies likely to take heavy damage, thus enabling me to pop my heals when this occurs.

In the sister thread to this one, there is significant statistical evidence confirming how burst healing through Vigorous Shouts is more effective than the Regeneration Boon (by a 27% margin as Healing Power converges to a theoretical maximum).

In some cases, choosing a Support build can allow certain skills/traits to affect the whole team. A classic example is in the Tactics Adept line, you can choose Empowered for a personal damage buff, or Empower Allies as a means to provide Power to the rest of the team. With Shout Healing, you not only heal yourself, but possibly the other 4 party members, and considering you can heal with three shouts, the total healing you could put out across three shouts is 15 times the amount that a shout heals for on a single target. It is situations like this where your skills transcend into a whole new league of effectiveness.

Tactics is an incredibly versatile trait line as it contains traits that augment your Shouts and Banners, the Grandmaster traits are the Crux of Warrior Healing. Also in Tactics is the trait “Quick Breathing” which allows Warhorn skills to convert conditions into boons (to the tune of cripple becoming swiftness, etc).

Dungeons present players with the most difficult content in the game and with the advent of Fractals of the Mists, this presents the most challenging combat out there. Agony in particular is very lethal. Evidence suggests Agony ticks for 1/8 of your maximum health per second. If you consider an ally with 15k health, that is a deficit of 1875 health per second. With Cleric’s Gear (not including accessories or Weapons), Shouts can heal for approximately 2k. This means you can help your allies effectively soak the effects of a short Agony spike, by using all 3 shouts in succession as Agony ticks.

The Supportive Paradigm:

Below are several builds that I've tested extensively. Generally they cover 3 out of 4 of the support mechanisms. Support can be played more defensively or offensively depending on your trait and gear choices, but in general the constant across these builds should be 30 points in Tactics.

A Hierarchy of Survivability:

One of the most important considerations in building yourself in an effective way is choosing the stats that will enable you to perform at your best. For example if you want to run bleeds, naturally your gear should encompass Condition Damage. For the purpose of a Defensive Support mindset, you should at least have some kind of Toughness based Armour (e.g. Knights or Cleric’s).

Anyhow, this small section aims to clarify something I have been thinking about in terms of survivability, and the ways in which you can enhance your own survivability. In theory, I believe that there is a prioritized list of ways to avoid damage successfully, in descending order of desirability these are:
  • Interrupts
  • Blocks
  • Dodges
  • Condition Removal
  • Damage Reduction
  • Healing
  • Health Pool
These 7 categories represent the ways in which the damage enemies do is received by you. The explanation of these factors and their order aims to definitively explain exactly why stacking Vitality as a defensive attribute pales in comparison to stacking Toughness.

First and foremost, the first 3 on the list are mechanisms of complete avoidance. To this effect, if you can interrupt a dangerous attack, then that is the end of it, the damage never comes into existence, and if this was going to be a powerful AoE attack, your allies are also spared from its effects. Beyond interrupting, the only possibly way to reduce damage to your party is through Healing them after an attack lands.

Blocks and Dodges are similar in nature, since both effectively avoid damage to you when done right. The reason Blocks are above Dodges in terms of desirability comes down to a couple of factors. Firstly, if you are running a Mace/Shield, you already have 2 ways to block attacks. Shield Stance allows 3 seconds of blocking, which is enough to soak an entire Hundred Blades. Dodges however require precise timing, so in effect it is easier to time a Shield Stance successfully than it is to dodge. While the end result is largely the same, Blocks should be prioritized, since you can preserve your Endurance for later attacks. One of the most fun Warrior traits is Missile Deflection (Defense, Adept), since you return projectiles while blocking. The kind of things you can get hit with throughout the whole of the game is pretty varied, but being able to send back attacks that cause bleed or vulnerability for example, is absolutely priceless.

Providing an enemy has not been interrupted, and you have not avoided the attack, then the damage has been done. Condition Removal features higher than damage reduction on this list because there IS no damage reduction when it comes to conditions. As such, being able to wipe off a whole stack of bleeds acts as significant damage prevention.

It follows that if you have a decent measure of damage reduction perhaps from high Toughness (or an ally who has Protection), then that damage comes in at a reduced value. I think that reducing the damage you take from an attack eclipses both Healing and a High Health Pool. I believe this is true based on the premise that the less damage you take, the less you have to heal, and the less damage you take, the smaller the demand on your Health Pool.

Finally, between Damage Reduction and High Health Pool is Healing. Renewable healing mechanisms are an important facet in this post, since being able to recover some of the damage you take on a frequent basis keeps you in certain fights a lot longer. Having a high health pool simply means you can take perhaps 1 or 2 more hits before going down, but by taking less damage and using Blocks/Dodges effectively, the need for High Health is somewhat gratuitous. Also, with higher damage reduction, your Heals will effectively be “worth more” per se, in that the Health regained proportional to damage taken, is higher when you have more Toughness.

As such, I regard Vitality as a poor attribute to gear towards, simply because High Health does not guarantee survivability. If Healing in this game was built to keep entire teams alive, then High Health would probably jump higher up the hierarchy, but since this is not the case, it is not widely considered here.

Supportive Concept #1 – Inspiring Battle Standard:

Support Mechanisms: Healing, Party-wide Buffs, Condition Removal, Control.

Build: http://www.guildhead...X70M7ofD70z8ofv

Required Traits:  30 in Tactics for Inspiring Banners (V) and Inspiring Battle Standard (XI).

The trait spec shown above is merely a recommended action for a build such as this. Banner Regeneration (while effective) is not powerful enough to be worth gearing towards (the Healing done over time from Banners is statistically shown as less effective than that from Vigorous Shouts in the sister thread).
However, this build is fairly liberal, since the only requirement is 30 in Tactics, the rest is completely negotiable. The Greatsword build shown is a viable concept to ensure your presence as a DPS entity in your team, as well as a Supportive one.

This build encompasses Healing and Party-wide Buffs as primary support mechanisms, but also Control if you choose it. Recall that the former two are Trait related support, but you can still Gear towards Control if you feel it is worthwhile.

There nature of this build revolves around your Banner(s) providing constant regeneration to your allies, as well as your own choice of Party-wide Buffs. If you merely want constant regeneration, you still only need a single banner to do so.

  • Each Banner provides a 90 Point bonus to two attributes (or 10% effectiveness for Critical Damage and Boon Duration). In simple terms the Banner of Strength (Power, Condition Damage), is almost 3 Might Stacks worth of attributes. The 10% Crit Damage from Discipline is the equivalent amount from a Berserker’s Chest, Legs and one other piece.
  • The Effective radius of Banners is very large (double that for Shouts), which means you never have to concern yourself with where your banners are, almost by default your allies will be under the effects.
  • Banners do not have to dominate your Utility Skill Bar like Vigorous Shouts do. You can use a single Banner if you choose, but ultimately the amount of buffs you decide to provide is negotiable.
  • There are no gear constraints for using an IBS Build, your Banner buffs are constant, and it is not worthwhile to use Cleric’s Gear with a Banner Regeneration build.
  • The Banner Skill #5 is a Combo Finisher for Blast.
  • While IBS allows you to Heal, it is not the most effective method to do so.
  • There is no Condition Removal above what you already have, so at least relative to the Supporting Paradigm as a whole, this is a lacking area.
  • Mobility from short encounter to short encounter can be tricky if nobody thinks to carry your Banner(s) along.
  • Since Banners provide Regeneration, which stacks duration, multiple Banners do not enhance your ability to heal.

Weapon & Sigil Choices: Negotiable (Knight’s) + Build Appropriate Sigil.#

The concept build above uses a Greatsword, which is just as viable as anything else, depending on how you want to tailor your build to be. Greatsword is a typical offensive spec that should Flourish relatively well (it’s not too dissimilar to Sonic Boon). Viable Greatsword Sigils include Frailty (for extra Vulnerability) and Strength (for extra Might).

If you choose an offensive build, you should generally choose a Rifle as a secondary, with a Sigil of Earth for extra Bleeds.

Mace/Shield and a Hammer make two great weapon sets if you want to add Control to your capabilities. As for Sigils, since frequent weapon swapping is a key factor in controlling with these two sets, the “on-weapon-swap” Sigils become useful here. Sigil of Energy in particular is particularly useful, since you can regain 50% of your endurance back each time you swap. This bonus to mobility is ideal for improving your survivability.

Armour & Runes: Toughness Based Armour + Negotiable Runes.

For armour, I’d suggest at least something with Toughness on it. Berserker Gear is pretty untenable, since you won’t be able to survive enough to be useful. For the sake of example, I’d suggest Knights Gear to be used in conjunction with a Banner build.

As for Runes, there are just too many combinations to suggest. If you run a Greatsword Build (like the spec shown above), 2 sets of (2) Runes with +20% Might Duration, and a set of (2) runes with +15% Boon Duration are a good bet here. Boon Duration is something that is valuable across the board, but with Forceful Greatsword granting you a short duration Might stack every time you Crit, enhancing this duration leads to a higher overall DPS output. As such, if offense is your game, these runes will go a long way to enhance your damage.

Alternately if you’re running a more Control oriented build, you could choose Runes of the Earth. These are Toughness oriented runes, and provide you with the Protection Boon occasionally. The (6) bonus is quite nice too, since the Magnetic Aura proc reflects projectiles.

Accessories: Emeralds (Knights) with Berserker Gems.

This is another opportunity to tailor this build how you like. I added up the attributes you get from all your equipment, it turns out you get 42% of your Gear related attributes just from your accessories. As a result, they’re instrumental in building towards a particular role. One notable thing about accessories I tend to note though, is that the Exquisite Ruby Orb gives 3% critical damage per gem. If you were to place 6 of these in your Accessory and Back slots, then you would get 18% critical damage. This is more than a whole set of Berserker Draconic Armour would give you. Given how the gem slot of accessories offer less attributes than those built in to the accessory itself, so 3% is disproportionately high, so you can gain some decent damage without sacrificing defensive attributes too much.


The array of “food buffs” available in GW2 is staggering, there are all sorts of buffs that can for example provide you a stat bonus based on a percentage of another stat (Maintenance oil provides Power based on Toughness and Vitality). Generally the two sources of Nourishment I’d recommend here are both defensive in nature.

Firstly for your Food Buff, Omnomberry Pie. This gives you a 66% chance to steal 325 Health (at level 80) on a critical. Consider an example with Hundred Blades, if you’re hitting several enemies with it, you’re bound to be proccing this very regularly. However I tend to find using anything that can make you complacent should be avoided. Omnomberry Pie can make you think "If I just finish this Hundred Blades i'll have loads of health..." and that kind of thinking gets you downed.

Alternately, Bowl of Orrian Truffle and Meat Stew. This grants you 40% Endurance regeneration, and a Might Stack every time you dodge. The Endurance regeneration alone is enough to allow you to dodge more often, and prevent instances of being caught “flat footed”. Mobility is more favourable for survival than Lifestealing. I've tried lifestealing builds and they just aren't enough, so given how Warriors lack any ability to improve Endurance, this buff caters nicely to that.

For your "other" buff (i.e. tuning crystals etc) you could go for Master Maintenance Oil here. MMO gives you a total Precision of 6% of your Toughness + 4% of your Vitality. With Knights Gear your toughness is fairly high, high enough to benefit (at least to the tune of a bonus 10% crit) from this.

Concluding Remarks:

This concept is incredibly flexible. Throughout the explanation I’ve attempted to detail offensive and defensive ways to approach it, but the core of it merely revolves around the Tactics trait line. The option of using Control Weapons is a further useful option for this.

The toughness gained from Knight’s Gear (or rough equivalent) is enough to give you a significant grounding in survivability, whether you tailor this to offense or defense.

As for the choice of Signet of Rage as the elite, it is generally more worthwhile than Battle Standard, since the frequency of BS makes it largely worthless over longer periods. Although it must be said that the instant resurrect is fantastic for some encounters (particularly Giganticus Lupicus).

Supportive Concept #2 – Vigorous Shouts:

Before proceeding, the discussion of Vigorous Shouts here will be about defensive support only. If you desire Vigorous Shouts offensively, refer to Sonic Boon.

Support Mechanisms: Healing, Party-wide Buffs, Condition Removal, Control.

Build: http://www.guildhead...F70M7ofD70z8of2

Required Traits:  30 in Tactics for Lung Capacity (VIII) and Vigorous Shouts (XII).
Recommended Traits: 30 in Defense for Missile Deflection (V), Shield Master (IX) and Sundering Mace (VII) /Merciless Hammer (X).

In general, this concept encompasses Healing, Condition Removal and Control very well, but aside from FGJ, there are no consistent party-wide buffs that even compare to the IBS concept.

This trait setup is centred on making you very defensive. The stat bonuses from Tactics and Defense ensure you receive the maximum bonuses for Toughness, Healing and Vitality. Boon Duration is a useful addition too. One of the main ideas behind this build is to be able to survive extremely well, and use your Shouts to heal allies at opportune moments.

Lung Capacity is chosen over “Shrug it Off”, because generally speaking you require very condition heavy areas to make it effective. The additional SIO proc’d from it does also heal, but the requirements to make it effective are too rare.

This is the build I have been running for around 2 months now, and I’ve been fine tuning it along the way.

  • Statistical evidence in the sister thread  show that the amount healed by Shouts is always more than Banners. As Healing Power converges to a theoretical maximum, Shouts are ~27% more effective.
  • Using 6 Runes of the Soldier evolve your Shouts into “Cleansing Shouts” as they remove conditions (SIO now removes 2 conditions). This allows you to wipe the slate clean of bleeds, poison and burning for your more vulnerable cohorts.
  • Running a defensive build allows you to withstand overwhelming pressure. When bosses target you, you can elongate the time that they do so, by mitigating powerful attacks with blocks.
  • Liberally swapping between Mace/Shield and a Hammer is great way to provide multiple interrupts to enemies. Given how Interrupts top the Hierarchy of Survivability, this is a significant advantage.
  • For maximum effectiveness, your utility slots must be filled (ideally) with your three quickest cooldown shouts, FGJ, SIO and OMM.
  • Your damage capabilities do suffer.
  • You have to learn to be very conservative with your shouts, as such this build demands knowledge of your surroundings, and of the mob you are facing, so that you can be prepared to help your allies.

Weapon & Sigil Choices: Mace/Shield (Knight’s) with Sigil of Energy Sigil of Life, and Hammer with Sigil of Energy.

Mace/Shield and Hammer is the most effective pair of weapons for maximizing the Control aspect of this build. The Sigils of Energy on each the Mace and Hammer allow you to dodge a lot more frequently.
Mace/Shield is also the most defensive weapon set available, since you have a Daze, a Stun, 2 Blocks and your #1 applies Weakness to enemies, which in itself functions as a damage reduction factor.

Choosing the weapons to be Knight’s is a decision based on the desperate need of this build to garner some Crit %.

Armour & Runes: Cleric’s Armour + 6 Runes of the Soldier.

Both of these choices are fairly integral to the core of this build. While the IBS concept was not rigidly gear dependent  Vigorous Shouts is.

Cleric’s Armour provides you with a lot of Healing Power, which is the fuel to your Shouts’ fire. The Toughness is relatively self-explanatory.

Runes of the Soldier ensure your capacity to remove conditions. Across your 3 shouts, you can remove 4 conditions (SIO now removes 2). As such, your ability to heal AND cleanse your allies of a condition is a precious commodity, learning when best to use them is a valuable skill in difficult PvE content.

Accessories: Sapphire (Cleric’s) with Berserker Gems.

The Sapphire accessories further add to your ability to heal. The main point here is the reason for Berserker gems. Since the extra Precision is nice for a lacking critical chance. In addition to this though, the critical damage gained from 6 Berserker Gems (5 Accessories and Backslot) is 18%, which is a disproportionately high amount of a single gem. This serves as a simple method to improve your damage by an equivalent amount more than the survivability that you just lost.


Bowl of Orrian Truffle and Meat Stew is a good choice here, the dodging is incredibly worthwhile. However it remains to be seen if the extra endurance regeneration from this is a bit gratuitous in the face of 2x Superior Sigils of Energy.

Superior Sharpening Stones serves as a good damage boost, as it provides 6% and 4% of your Toughness and Vitality respectively, as Power. Personally I get something in the region of 190 bonus power from this, which is over 5 Might Stacks worth, totalling over 2000 Power without any Might, combined with over 2200 Toughness that is pretty nice. SSS allows you to still hit like a truck, even though you don't crit very often.

Concluding Remarks:

This build plays out very defensively and survives overwhelming pressure from Bosses very well. Timing your blocks and your dodges, not to mention interrupts are all key facets to surviving with this build. I tend to notice that I get a lot of enemy attention as well, whether that is a result of high Toughness remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the more time an enemy focuses on me, the better for my team. This is because when you run this build, you have numerous options to avoid and recover damage.

If you are a player who is looking to support teammates through defensive capabilities, then this is the build for you. I think that defensive Vigorous Shouts is probably at the height of Warrior support, there isn’t much else you can add onto this. This leads me to my next point. While IBS and VS have their merits, and the dichotomy of Healing falls to Banners vs. Shouts, the optimum situation is to have two Warriors run them both side by side. Two Banner Warriors healing capabilities would mesh poorly, as would those of VS Warriors, since you would have to coordinate shouts, and that would be far too difficult, leading surely to either over-healing, or none at all.

It should be noted however that while this concept would not be viable with Knight’s Armour (like IBS), the reverse actually does apply. You could run IBS if you wanted to (admittedly with less damage), but the Healing from your Banners would be a lot more significant. So if you ever came across another Vigorous Shouts Warrior geared similar to you, you can effectively swap to Banners.

It should be noted that with a heavily defensive Vigorous Shouts build, you lose DPS. Lately i've noticed that sometimes it's necessary to switch out of Vigorous Shouts and switch in a DPS build. The reason for this is that the greatest enemy to your success as a team is whether you can defeat enemies quick enough. You can support as much as you like, but if the DPS from the rest of your team is low (and considering yours is pretty average with this build) supporting doesn't tend to matter, since hard hitting encounters will make you struggle anyway. So to summarize, make sure you know when to support, and when you might need to DPS. I find when i'm teamed with more than one Necro running condition builds, I usually switch to damage.


This whole post has largely been re-written in order to remove repetition and gratuitous information. Originally there were 4 builds described. The omitted builds were an Offensive inclined Vigorous Shouts build, which was incredibly similar to the IBS Warrior (but with VS instead), and has since been pursued by Brand. The other omitted build was a solely Control based build. However since the shortest cooldown control abilities are Weapon Skills, it made sense to run a Hammer with Vigorous Shouts or IBS, making each build go even further with its capabilities.

I have also tried to breakdown each section better, in order to provide build information in concise passages, rather than unorganized drivel like before. The initial sections describe Support as a mindset, you can be tactically aware of your surroundings and dodge attacks without supporting, but the Build Concepts allow you to extend this a lot further than you ever could with a solo-oriented build.

It is difficult to effectively compare the main build concepts, since each excels in different areas, and at different levels. For example, a Banner build simply adds a lot more damage than the defensive Vigorous Shouts approach. Likewise, a defensive Vigorous Shouts build incorporates Weapons, Utility Skills and specialist Runes to allow effective healing and cleansing right across the team, while withstanding significant enemy pressure. Also, each concept is built around one gear set. It tends to be far too costly to invest in multiple sets of gear, especially when you can tailor a build to work across every situation, without requiring Gear to enable you to survive a situation (i.e. I have never once though I wish I had more Vitality for this particular dungeon).

So overall, a lot more justification has been added to getting players to “think” support, as well as tailoring a build to your own playstyle in order to actually play support. As always, I’d keen to hear comments and suggestions from the player base on ways to make the post better, especially in build discussions. One final note, if the numerical side is of interest to you, please refer to the sister thread I have written in parallel to this.

Thing to Add:
  • More build ideas?
  • Methodology for Shouts/Banners
  • Dungeon Experiences