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Posted Lol Lol Lol Guy on 19 November 2013 - 05:15 PM
Posted Elder III on 19 November 2013 - 04:52 PM
*Mazinger - please go eat a Snickers, you're more bitter sounding than a Siberian dill pickle.
Posted Phenn on 15 November 2013 - 02:05 AM
What This Thread Is For
A Description of the Necromancer
A Disclaimer on Conditionmancers versus Powermancers
Class Mechanic: Death Shroud
V. Putting It All Together
Tips for Leveling
VI. Builds and Gear
Death Shroud Builds
What This Thread Is For
Welcome, first and foremost. This thread is meant to be a resource for newcomers to the Necromancer profession. It has some basic info on the class, skills, and weapons, tips for leveling, and links and descriptions of several end-game builds. Hopefully it will be a place for discussion of the class in general. The guides and tips will focus largely on the Powermancer for two reasons: First, it’s my personal area of expertise, and second, because others have done a phenomenal job of breaking down the Conditionmancer I don’t feel the need to reduplicate their work.
My name’s Phenn. I’ve been playing the Power Necromancer since BWE2, and have buildcrafted through most of the Necromancer’s various nerfs and buffs. I have close to 800 hours clocked on three different Necros, and have tried just about every conceivable Power build available. Though I personally enjoy the hard-hitting meta builds, many of the builds I’ve developed revolve around a particular playstyle that I enjoy rather than min/maxing damage. I can always be reached through PM here on Guru, or in-game at Phenn.5167.
A Description of the Necromancer
I’d start this section with GW2’s official description, but the class in reality isn’t in the place that the development team would have it. So my description will focus on where the class is at the moment. The Necromancer is two things: First it’s an underdog class. Everything it does another class can do in an easier fashion, and often times better. You play a Necro because you want to play a Necro. Second, it’s a scrappy class. It can take hits and make mobs pay. It can mix it up in the middle of a swarm of enemies and come out on top—bruised and beaten, but victorious. Third, the Necro is selfish. To play in the best, Necros offer very little to a party in the way of buffs, boons, or heals (healing could be debated, but other classes still do it better). If you play a Necro, your job is to tangle with death and leave your party to clean up the rest.
A Disclaimer on Conditionmancers versus Powermancers
As my experience with Conditionmancers is very limited, and as others have done a far better job than I could of explaining the builds and playstyles, I will link to them. Suffice it to say that, in GW2’s PvE, Conditionmancers can be powerful, but suffer from the universal “gimp” that condition-caps apply. That being said, I will address the weapons and skills associated with Conditionmancers and leave it at that. The majority of this guide will be devoted to Powermancers and how they play.
If you’re interested in playing a Conditionmancer, then I highly suggest you check out Lopez’s extensive guide to the Conditionmancer. Because he has so thoroughly explained the build concept, I won’t reduplicate it here.
Class Mechanic: Death Shroud
Before we go any further, we have to address the unique class mechanic that makes Necros excel at this “scrappy” combat. Death Shroud is a toggleable second health pool that locks out weapon skills, utility skills, and elite skills, but offers five new combat skills. They are all useful to …kill all the things. On top of the new skills, any damage (whether direct or ConD) will hit your LF pool, and not your HP. While in DS, all hits are reduced by roughly half (due to a weird conversion factor that even the Devs can’t figure out). This is what makes Necros tanky, even in the glassiest of setups.
The skills are great for Power builds. The auto attack hits like a truck, even with its slow cast/aftercast time. The closer to the target you are the more damage it does. It can be traited to stack Might on yourself, pierce, and stack Vulnerability on enemies. DS #2 (Dark Path) is a slow teleport that Chills and Bleeds mobs around the target. DS #3 (Doom) is an insta-cast Fear that’s invaluable for interrupting big hits if you’ve been knocked down. DS #4 (Life Siphon) is an AoE channel skill that does great DPS and refills your LF bar (better returns for hitting more mobs). DS #5 (Tainted Shackles) is an AoE bind skill that stacks Torment on mobs and, when it ends, immobilizes them.
As awesome as DS skills are, the LF bar suffers a constant degen of 4% per second (3% if traited). In light of that, it’s not a good idea to hang out in DS if you’re not using the skills. One final strength of DS are the various traits that proc on entering or exiting DS. Builds that rely on these traits are dubbed “flash” builds, and can be useful in stacking quite a few boons and benefits on yourself, allies, and enemies.
In many ways, Death Shroud plays like the Engi’s kits or the Ele’s attunements. It’s important to know that you can swap into DS to pop off a necessary skill whenever you need to. It also works as an efficient block (so long as you don’t have a sliver of HP left, as any spillover damage will carry through DS into your HP). Getting used to DS is key for a well-played Necro.
Nearly all the weapons that a Necro has access to can be used in a power build. The one possible exception is the Scepter, which is the mainstay of all ConD builds. The scepter itself has a rather low coefficient for direct damage, and has as its one saving grace a lot of ConD built in (see here for an extensive breakdown of Necro weapons’ coefficients). The rest find their place in the Powermancer’s arsenal in one way or another.
Dagger (D/ and /D)
The dagger is the mainstay of power builds that don’t rely on DS for their direct damage. The dagger has an incredibly fast auto attack at just 2.2 seconds. In that two-ish seconds, the dagger hits four times, which means high chances to proc on-crit traits and sigils, as well as making it an excellent weapon for Siphon builds.
D/ AA – Four hits over 2.2 seconds that generates 8% LF each rotation. Best option for quick generation of Life Force outside of A/ #2.
D/ #2 (Life Siphon) – Channeled siphon attack that hits nine times healing for approximate 200 HP per tick base. The heal scales slightly with healing power now, but not enough to merit stacking it (more on this and siphons in general below). Good skill to use when you need a breather or can’t close the gap with mobs.
D/ #3 (Dark Pact) – This skill does decent damage and drops a very long immobilize (3s) on the target. Use it to lock down Champs or Bosses in crucial spots or to hold high-mobility mobs in your wells.
/D #4 (Deathly Swarm) – This skill alone makes offhand dagger powerful. It damages, blinds three targets, and transfers three conditions to those targets. Every ConD build uses it, and many power builds will, too. This is definitely not a “spam on CD” skill, and can make or break a battle. It gets even better when traited to Chill on Blind.
/D #5 (Enfeebling Blood) – Even with the long CD (25 seconds, 20 if traited), this skill can turn the tides of an encounter. In a ConD build it’s two stacks of Bleeding in AoE. In Power build, it’s a long-duration AoE Weakness that can really help in situations where Blind is useless (a la Dredge Fractal). In a Power build, this is a potent tool, both for survivability as well as contributing to some group utility.
Where the dagger reigns supreme outside of DS, the axe rules in DS. It’s the only weapon in the Necro arsenal to get a direct-damage boost from traits, and that percentage boost transfers directly to all damage-oriented skills in DS. That being said, the weapon itself struggles from a very weak auto attack, and isn’t reliable by itself.
A/ AA – The AA of the axe stacks Vulnerability on the target, but suffers from a near-useless damage coefficient (with base power, the dagger AA has better DPS than the axe AA when buffed to 1800 power). As such, you should do everything in your power to avoid having to AA with the axe. If you need a few stacks of Vuln, that’s fine. But don’t spam it if you want damage.
A/ #2 (Ghastly Claws) – This skill is one of the axe’s saving graces. It’s on a relatively low CD, is a channeled attack, hits rather hard, and generates a decent chunk of Life Force. Like the Thief’s P/P skill Unload, this should be spammed on CD in order to build up LF in order to get back into DS.
A/ #3 (Unholy Feast) – This skill is a strange hybrid skill that has more applications in WvW than PvE. It hits up to five targets in AoE for decent damage, strips a boon from each, cripples, and stacks three seconds base of Retaliation for every target hit. It’s a good skill to pop before jumping into DS. But it’s not a DPS boost.
The focus is, perhaps, the best single-target offhand available to Powermancers. Each of its attacks debuff and control the target, and provide substantial boons to the user. Additionally, it’s unparalleled at LF-generation against single targets.
/F #4 (Reaper’s Touch) – This is a bounce skill, and as such must be carefully applied. Even though the range is stated at 900, the return bounce is a good deal shorter than that. So if you want to get the benefit of the bounce, it’s best used within 600 range. Given that, however, it’s a fantastic skill. Each bounce on an enemy does decent damage and drops four stacks of long-duration Vulnerability. Each bounce on an ally drops Regeneration, much like the Guardian’s Focus #4 skill. Additionally, it generates 4% LF per hit on an enemy, making it invaluable for generating LF against single targets. For this skill alone, it pairs well with A/.
/F #5 (Spinal Shivers) – This skill has more application in PvP settings where enemies stack boons. In performs the same in PvE, however, and can be useful against boon-stacking mobs like Dredge. It does good base damage, and adds damage per boon removed up to three. Additionally, it drops a decently-long Chill on the target making it good for control.
The warhorn is the single most valuable offhand in the Necro’s weapon choices. It provides unequalled control through both its skills, and synergizes well with nearly all Powermancer builds.
/Wh #4 (Wail of Doom) – This skill is a cone-AoE Daze two seconds long. It can be tricky to aim at first, but it excels at interrupting big attacks from a distance, or locking mobs down in Wells. Smart use of this skill can turn the tides of an encounter quickly. This can hit more than one target and also goes through targets, so if you have them stacked, they will all get dazed.
/Wh #5 (Locust Swarm) – Arguably the best Powermancer weapon skill, Locust Swarm is a PbAoE that lasts for 10 seconds (15 if traited—it should always be traited), and cripples and damages up to five mobs in range on a one-second pulse. Additionally, it generates 2% LF per mob hit per second, making it the fastest way to generate LF in AoE. On top of all that, it drops 10 seconds (15 traited) of Swiftness on the user.
The staff is the iconic weapon of the Necromancer, and has applications in both ConD and Power builds. However, it is largely a utility weapon, and is incredibly difficult to build around. The one possible exception is Minion Master builds, and I’ll mention those briefly below. Every Necro should have a staff in their inventory, however, as the utility it offers is excellent. Additionally, it offers the highest boost to Death Shroud damage apart from a traited axe.
St AA – The AA on staff is a slow-moving projectile that pierces, generating 4% LF for every target hit. It’s not a reliable source of LF-generation, and neither is it a good source of DPS. Like axe’s AA, it’s not worth spamming.
St #2 (Mark of Blood) – This skill is on a low cooldown, and drops three stacks of Bleeds on up to five mobs, as well as Regen on up to five allies. The direct damage value is rather low, and as such shouldn’t be relied on for DPS. Pop it to drop some Regen on allies, then move on.
St #3 (Chilblains) – This skill has some utility and does okay damage. It drops a short Chill in AoE on mobs, and leaves a Poison Field for comboing. Beyond that, not much else to say.
St #4 (Putrid Mark) – According to the devs this is “one of the most powerful skills in the entire game.” I’ll pause sarcastically for second. … Okay, in reality, this is a good skill. It hits hardest of all the marks, is a Blast Finisher, and transfers three conditions from you to one of the affected mobs. Despite the tooltip, it does not transfer ConD from allies—a bug that’s been around since the patch on June 25. Rather than fix it, the devs have changed their tune and are now saying it was a nerf. Either way, this mark is useful as emergency ConD clear, and for blasting Fire Fields. Spam it immediately after Chilblains for a double-Weakness AoE combo.
St #5 (Reaper’s Mark) – This mark is a great utility skill which Fears up to five targets when it triggers. Excellent for emergencies, but bad for most dungeons where stacking mobs up is key. Use it when you need to get mobs off of yourself, an ally, or while rezzing.
(A note on Marks: In Power builds, marks are valuable for their utility alone. If you swap to staff, it’s best to drop all of the damaging marks and swap back ASAP, as you’ll take a significant hit to your DPS if you stay on staff for long. Think of staff as a free extra four utilities. Another way to do it is to start in Staff and open with all the marks, thus eliminating the need to wait for the weapon swap CD).
There are few “must have” utilities in the Necro Powermancer arsenal. Rather than explain every single slot skill, I’ll identify the most important in each category.
Of the four utilities in the corruption line of utilities, Blood is Power is the most useful for Powermancers. The others (Epidemic, Corrosive Poison Cloud, Corrupt Boon) are situationally applicable, but rarely find their place on a Powermancer’s bar. Blood is Power, however, gives 10 stacks of long-duration Might, while Bleeding both the target and the user. The self-Bleed can be avoided, however, if using the skill without a target. You’ll still get the Might. The self bleed can also be used in conjunction with Consume Conditions (heal skill) for some extra healing, or in conjunction with /D #4 to throw a bit more DPS at the enemy.
Only two signets really have any value for the Powermancer: Signet of the Locust which is both a siphon and a 25% runspeed boost, and Signet of Spite which is a flat boost of 120 power. Signet of Spite can also be used in conjunction with the Curses-line 25-point minor trait which gives 2% extra damage per unique condition on the target. Pop Signet of Spite on a mob, and you get an automatic 12% damage boost. However, this lasts only thirteen seconds, so in prolonged engagements, the passive is much better.
Minions are “meh” at best in PvE. If you’re running a Minion build, then you have no choice but to take the Minion utilities. Apart from a Minion Master build, however, the Flesh Golem elite is the only valuable Minion (discussed below with the other elites).
Spectrals are an interesting group of utilities, and they all have their place in the Powermancer’s repertoire. Spectral Grasp is a great interrupt/pull that also generates an insane amount of LF if it connects, as well as Chills the target. This can be key in some builds. Spectral Wall is also an excellent source of control, as it will Fear any mob that crosses the line, as well as giving Protection to allies that do the same. Once again, it’s situational.
Spectral Walk and Spectral Armor function very similarly in that they are both stunbreaks, and while using both, getting hit generates a certain percentage of LF. Their effects in this respect stack, totaling a gain of 10% LF per hit per second, and this effect will continue while in DS. Which isn’t bad. On top of this, Spectral Walk grants a ridiculous amount of Swiftness (30 seconds base), and for a period of time allows you to teleport back to where you activated the skill. When falling, you can “double-tap” Spec Walk to reset the fall and take little to no damage. Spectral Armor is less entertaining, and simply gives six seconds of Protection when activated.
The Well utilities are what make the Powermancer the lawnmower of trash mobs. Each is powerful, and each has its place on the utilities bar. Well of Suffering should never leave the bar, however, as it pulses very high damage and stacks Vulnerability in a huge AoE. Well of Corruption also pulses damage (less than Well of Suffering), and corrupts boons into conditions on mobs standing in the AoE. Well of Darkness blinds targets on a one-second pulse. Well of Power is a stunbreak, and turns conditions on allies and yourself into boons.
Every Well can be traited to do damage through siphons (even the ones without base damage), and can heal through siphons. It’s hard to conceive of a Power build that doesn’t have at least one Well.
The Necro’s heal skills boil down to a choice between two: Consume Conditions and Well of Blood. The former is on a shorter CD and heals extra for every unique condition on you, while also removing those conditions. There’s no limit to how many it can clear. 90% of the time, you’ll want to run this heal. Well of Blood’s base CD is too long to make it a viable heal. However, when traited it becomes potent, as it will pulse heals after the initial heal, pulse siphons, and do damage through siphons.
Summon Blood Fiend is not really worth using on a Powermancer because of its low heal, low HP, and relatively high CD compared to how often it dies.
The Necro elite skills are rather lacking. For 90% of the time, Flesh Golem will offer you the best “bang for your buck.” It’s added DPS, and Fleshy has a potent knockdown that can serve as both a great opener or as a clutch save in a battle. The Fleshy’s charge also hits medium to large targets more than once, so it’s extremely useful for stripping stacks of Defiant off of boss mobs and champs. It can also be used in the same way that Burning Retreat is used on an Ele. If the mob is pinned against the wall, Fleshy’s charge will hit quite a few times as he runs into the wall.
Plague is a valuable “oh crap” button, but has more use in PvP and WvW than PvE. The long Blind pulse can help save a group from wiping, but because of the long CD, it’s not necessarily the best choice. Underwater, however, this is your only choice.
Lich Form can pack a powerful punch in builds that are geared toward high Power. But once again its long CD makes it difficult to substantiate taking it as a DPS boost. It does look flippin’ cool though. So there’s always that.
The trait lines for the Necro are infamous in GW2 as the most buggy of all classes. Some traits are still broken and have been since release. Unfortunately, this means that many interesting build ideas are gimped by necessity of taking certain “must have” traits. Other builds are gimped by an overabundance of good traits in one solitary line, forcing use to choose. Either way, I’ll break down the benefits of each line here, and highlight some of the best traits in each.
Spite: Power/Condition Duration Line
These stats may seem a little disjointed until we realize that even Power Necros benefit from long-duration debuffs (Weakness, Chill, etc.). The highest-damage Power builds will make strong use of this line, and there are several traits worth considering. Unlike some other lines, none of the minors are worth traiting specifically for.
At the Adept level, all six options have their place. Top tier choices are Spite II, and VI. If you’re running /F, Spiteful Talisman (Spite II) is excellent. For builds that emphasize DS, Reaper’s Might (Spite VI) is crucial. Second tier choices are Spite III, IV, and V. If you’re running a DS-flash build, Spiteful Spirit (Spite V) will give you some retaliation. If you need ConD removal Spiteful Removal (Spite III) is a phenomenal choice. Finally, Signet Mastery (Spite IV) is beneficial if you’re running with signets to boost damage.
At the Master level, three options stand out. Axe Training (Spite VIII) is a must for any Axe/Death Shroud build. The damage bonus carries over to the skills in DS making it powerful. Training of the Master (Spite IX) is a good filler if you’re running Fleshy for the extra DPS. Chill of Death (Spite X) is a great single-target trait that drops mobs quick. For most situations, however, Training of the Master is the best choice.
At the Grandmaster level, only one option is worth it for Power Necros: Close to Death (Spite XII). This is a huge boost to DPS when mobs are under 50% HP. If you put 30 points into Spite, it’s for this trait alone.
Curses: Precision/Condition Dmg Line
The Curses line is like the Spite line in that it offers both ConD and Power boosts. It’s the Necro’s source of Precision and Precision-related traits. Unfortunately, this line has way too many good traits in it, meaning we are limited in how effective we can be. Two of the minors (the 15-point minor and especially the 25-point minor) make traiting into this tree worth it by themselves. Target the Weak (Curses 25) is incredibly powerful.
At the Adept level, two stand out: Weakening Shroud (Curses IV) and Chilling Darkness (Curses III). The former drops AoE Weakness when you enter DS which can be a powerful life-saver. The latter causes Chill every time you Blind a mob, which makes for near-complete shutdown in many situations. Nearly all the time, Weakening Shroud is a must-have.
The Master level has many good traits. Top tier would be Banshee’s Wail (Curses VIII) which both reduces the CD on Warhorn skills while boosting their durations. This is a must-have with any build using Warhorn. Second tier would be Spectral Attunement (Curses X) and Master of Corruption (VII). The former boosts the duration of Spectral skills and their effects--key for any Spectral-heavy build. The latter reduces the CD on Corruption skills, making Blood is Power a formidable provider of Might stacks.
The Grandmaster level has no traits that benefit Power builds, as Withering Precision’s internal CD makes it all but useless. Only go 30 points into Curses if you absolutely need a trait from one of the other tiers.
Death Magic: Toughness/Boon Duration Line
For anything other than Minion Master builds, the Death Magic line is more or less useless. One-half of its traits are dedicated to Minions, and all of its minor traits focus on Minions. As a result, unless you’re speccing for Minions, I wouldn’t bother with this tree. It offers boon duration and Toughness, and neither of these is critical for a Power Necro. None of my builds use the Death Magic tree.
The honorable mentions in this tree are Ritual of Protection (DM IV) that drops Protection on allies when using a Well, Staff Mastery (DM V) which reduces the CD on Marks, and Greater Marks (DM VII) which makes the radius of Marks bigger.
Blood Magic: Vitality/Healing Power Line
The Blood Magic line suffers from having traits that affect too many things. Wells, Siphons, and Daggers all gain their best buffs from this line, but often at the cost of not being able to buff another complementary component in the build. The Vitality and Healing Power from this line are not worth traiting for specifically, but the first two minor traits (and the third, come December 10th) are quite good. The Adept minor gives five seconds of Regen whenever your health drops below 90%. For runes with health-cap bonuses (like Scholar Runes), this is rather helpful. The Master tier minor turns every hit of every skill into a siphon. This means you get a small amount of health and do a small amount of extra damage per hit. This, coupled with other siphons, can prove very powerful. The Grandmaster tier minor trait gives 90 extra Power so long as your health stays above 90%. This synergizes well with the Adept minor, and is set to get a decent buff in the December patch.
At the Adept level, there are several worthwhile traits. If your emphasis is on siphons, the both Bloodthirst (BM II) and Vampiric Precision (BM V) are excellent choices. The former boosts the return on siphon skills and traits by 20%, and the latter replicates Vampiric’s effect but on every critical hit. This synergizes well with BM 15, in that a crit will proc both Vampiric and Vampiric Precision.
Apart from siphons, Dagger Mastery (BM I) is a good choice if using off-hand dagger. It gives higher uptime on AoE Weakness and quicker ConD transfers. Transfusion (BM VI) got a buff recently and is a very potent AoE party heal. It does not affect the user while in DS, but it can be the difference between your party wiping or staying up.
At the Master level, more valuable traits pop up. If you are running a Healing build or a DS-flash build, Deathly Invigoration (BM IX) is an excellent choice, as it drops a AoE heal (similar to the Guardian’s dodge-heal) every time you leave DS. Ritual Mastery (BM VIII) is key for all Well-heavy builds, reducing their CDs by 20%. Quickening Thirst (BM X) gives a speed boost depending on the number of daggers wielded, and can free up a utility slot.
At the Grandmaster level, only Vampiric Rituals (BM XII) stands out, as it makes all Wells (even the non-damage ones) siphon health. This means Well of Suffering, for example, can proc Vampiric (BM 15), Vampiric Precision (BM V), and Vampiric Rituals (BM XII) on every pulse for every enemy. There is a lot of Well + Siphon synergy in this line.
If you’re running a Minion Master build, Vampiric Master (BM VII) and Fetid Consumption (BM XI) can add DPS and ConD clear respectively to your Minions.
Soul Reaping: Crit Dmg/Life Force Pool Line
Soul Reaping is the trait line for Death Shroud builds, as it not only has most of the traits affecting DS skills, it also boosts the DS pool by up to 30%. Crit damage also comes with this line, but is not worth traiting specifically for. The minors aren’t bad, though. The Adept tier boosts every LF-generating skill by 10%, usually adding about 1% more LF per skill. The Master tier is a great lifesaver against TKOs, as, at 50% health, it procs Spectral Armor giving you both Protection and clutch LF-generation (not only that, the stunbreak will also proc, which can be key in avoiding big hits). The Grandmaster tier offers a percent damage boost when your LF is above 50%. This is great in dagger builds that don’t use DS for DPS, but it’s not worth traiting specifically for.
At the Adept level, Vital Persistence (SR II), Path of Midnight (SR III), Spectral Mastery (SR IV), and Unyielding Blast (SR VI) are all top-tier. Vital Persistence reduces the speed at which your LF pool decays while in DS and can offer very good uptime on DS builds (it’s also set to be buffed to a 50% reduction instead of 25% come December 10th). Path of Midnight reduces the CDs of all DS skills, and is very good for DS DPS builds. Spectral Mastery is a must in all Spectral builds for the 20% CD reduction. Unyielding Blast allows the Life Blast AA to pierce and stack Vulnerability on targets, making it a “must have” for DS builds.
At the Master level, there are fewer good choices, Near to Death (SR VIII) being the best for Power builds. It reduces the CD of DS to seven seconds, boosting the effectiveness of flash builds immensely. More often than not, however, the Master tier is best slotted with a trait from the Adept level.
At the Grandmaster tier, both options are good. Foot in the Grave (SR XI) provides 3 seconds of Stability, making it excellent to pull of clutch Life Siphon + Transfusions, and it makes flash builds stronger. Deathly Perception (SR XII), however, is the crown-jewel of the Soul Reaping tree, as it gives 50% additional crit chance when in DS. Built correctly, a DS build can crit 99% of the time with this trait alone. For nearly all DS builds, Deathly Perception is a “must have.”
So having walked through the Necro weapons and skills, we’ll take a second and look at how they can be put together. Some utilities mesh well with weapons, and some don’t. These suggestions aren’t set in stone, but they’re a good place to start.
Dagger/Warhorn + Wells or Siphons
The dagger’s biggest weakness is the fact that it’s single-target. Combining it with the warhorn allows you to slow mobs down (/Wh #5), take them on one-by-one, while keeping up damage on the others. Wells naturally boost the AoE DPS of the D/, and the /Wh keeps mobs locked down inside the Wells. This is perhaps the strongest synergy in the game when combined with Siphons, as the D/ hits fast, /Wh ticks once a second for 10–15 seconds on all mobs (hitting and critting), and Wells supplement with more damage and siphons. I recommend this combination to anyone new to the Necro Powermancer.
Dagger/Focus + Spectrals
When combined with the /F the single-target nature of the D/ gets even more powerful. High Vulnerability means the heavy-hitting D/ hits even harder. Spectral skills allow you some flexibility in dealing with hard-hitting bosses, and make DS a viable block.
Dagger/Dagger + Wells or Spectrals
Offhand dagger is an excellent debuff tool and pairs well with D/ which can take advantage of the debuffs. Wells add to this, and Spectrals are always a solid choice.
Axe/Warhorn + Wells or Spectrals
This setup is good for DS-focused builds only. It excels at generating LF and keeping it topped up while in DS (/Wh #5 continues to work while in DS). Spectral skills also add to LF, and Wells supplement A/’s poor DPS.
Axe/Focus + Spectrals
Similar to the D/Wh description, this set is an excellent option for single-target DS builds. It generates good LF against one opponent, and in conjunction with Spectrals can maintain it.
Tips for Leveling
Leveling with the Necromancer is actually quite easy compared to other professions, as you gain access to the best skills early on, and are not nearly as trait dependent as a Thief, for instance. That being said, there are some fundamental guidelines that will help as you level.
- Decide what kind of damage you want to do. If you’re going for ConD, then you’ll wanna pick up a Scepter, Dagger, and Staff. Learn to use and love them, as you’ll get no other weapons from here to level 80. For a complete guide to the Conditionmancer, see Lopez’s seminal work. If you’re going for Power, then pick up two Daggers, a Focus, a Warhorn, an Axe, and a Staff.
- From level 1-11, get used to the way each of the Power weapons plays. Test the ranges, the skills, the CDs. Play with Death Shroud, too. Figure out what appeals to you and what does not. It’ll help quite a bit in making the Necro fun to level (and play in endgame).
- From level 11-20, put your trait points in the Curses line. Precision scales better than any other attribute at lower levels. So get it as fast as you can. Stack Precision in your weapons and gear, and in the traits you have available. It’ll mean bigger hits more often, and go a long way to making life bearable in early levels.
- There is no point number four.
- From level 21-30, put your traits in Blood Magic. The trait Vampiric Precision helps immensely with surviving, particularly coupled with the Precision from Curses. If you’ve decided you want to run a DS build, these points can go into the Soul Reaping line for any of the excellent Adept traits available. Experiment with different builds at this point. It’s cheap to re-spec, so do it whenever you feel the itch to try something different.
- From level 31-40, put your points in Spite for the added Power. At this point you’ll want to re-gear, making sure to keep a high crit chance. Buy your Master book, and dump 20 points into Curses if you’re running /Wh, or Spite if you’re running A/ + DS.
- Levels 41-60 allow you to get familiar with the build you’re working toward. I always recommend having points in Curses for the Precision, but you needn’t be inflexible on this. As soon as you can pick up 3-stat gear, Berserker’s will become your best friend.
- The last levels allow you to finish your build. By now you should have a familiarity with the weapons and build types. You’ll be best served to have the general build that you want to play in mind, so that you can nuance it in the last few levels. Do you want to run a Might-stacking Glass Cannon? Or a Freeze-bot Glass Cannon? There are differences, so deciding early can save cash when you’re buying expensive runes and sigils.
Before launching into the builds, I want to make a note about gearing. When you’re limited to one- and two-stat gear, you’ll want to emphasize Precision. As soon as you can pick up Berserker’s, do so, and stick with it. The Power Necro has a great deal of survivability through Death Shroud and is far more resilient in Glass Cannon gear than most classes.
If you’re really struggling and want more defense, stick to Knight’s gear. It’ll boost Power and Precision decently, but stack an immense amount of Toughness for you. Even with a few pieces of Knight’s you’ll see your survivability jump.
That being said, let’s jump into the builds.
These builds are going to hit hard—very hard. If you like huge DPS these are for you. However, they lack in group support, and are very selfish. If you’re okay with this tradeoff, then you’ll enjoy these builds.
The True Glass Cannon
If you want pure damage, this is the build for you. The only defense it offers is DS as a pseudo-block. But it hits like a truck. Flesh Golem, Dagger, Locust Swarm, and Well of Suffering all combine to drop a huge amount of DPS very quickly. Not much else needs to be said.
This build, unlike the one above, focuses its damage output on Death Shroud. It stacks damage bonuses and Crit Damage to make Life Blasts hit and hit hard. All of your DPS comes from DS, so you’ll want to get in and stay in as long as possible. Otherwise your DPS will take a big hit.
Death Shroud Builds
These builds focus more or less on the Death Shroud mechanic. They tend to be gimmicky, and as such, aren’t for everyone. But if you like the DS mechanic or just want to be tanky in Berserker’s gear, then these builds are for you.
Specter of Death
[This build uses Valkerie gear] This build focuses on high-uptime of Death Shroud. Damage comes primarily from Life Blasts, which, in this build, stack Might, pierce, and stack Vulnerability. The huge Life Force pool allows for sustained combat while in DS, taking hits, and soaking up damage for the party. The weapon choices of A/F and A/Wh in conjunction with a heavy focus on Spectral Skills provide very fast Life Force generation when DS finally runs out. A little unorthodox of a build, but can be very powerful in the right hands.
This build has all the AoE. The staff’s Marks serve as an opener, followed shortly by Wells. Swapping to DS is crucial for this build, as it guarantees crits on all attacks. With a fast CD on the biggest attacks from DS, this build has a huge AoE spike. When everything’s on CD, your DPS will drop dramatically, sustained only through Life Blasts. But most trash won’t survive the onslaught.
Dagger builds pack a punch and usually rely on Wells for AoE. Death Shroud is used in these defensively or for the utility that the skills offer. The need to manage DS skills carefully (and to be aware of blind CDs) make these builds play closer to a Mesmer or Engineer. There is quite a bit of flexibility in each of these, and can be tweaked to suit many purposes.
Death Dancer (Credit to Loperdos)
This build focuses on popping in and out of Death Shroud to gain the bonuses that are associated with it, as well as using it as an on-demand block of sorts. This isn't as effective as it used to be (due to nerfs in recent months), but it still does a decent job at it. D/D is the main weapon-set, using /D #4 in conjunction with Blood is Power for a touch of additional DPS, and using /D #5 liberally. The D/Wh is used for an on-demand stun (/Wh #4) as well as a great AoE (/Wh #5) and access to perma-Swiftness through a combination of Locust Swarm and Spectral Walk.
The mobility of this build comes from its ability to keep swiftness up 100% of the time, so it makes it difficult to hit. Keep moving. It does good burst AoE, but once Well of Suffering, #4 and #5 in DS, and Locust Swarm are all on CD, its AoE capability starts to fall off. Its benefits are high-ish mobility (for a Necro), decent AoE Weakness, decent Vulnerability through Well of Suffering, and good sustained DPS through D/D.
(The last trait in the Curses line is entirely optional. The Runes of the Pack in the build link are there to help with maintaining perma-Swiftness, but can be swapped for something else.)
This build is all about sucking away the life of any and all opponents. The Well-Necro has some of the best AoE DPS in the game, and it gets even better with this build. Even in full Berserker’s gear, this build is very tanky due to the constant influx of health. Simply waltz in, pop Locust Swarm, drop all the Wells, and watch things die.
This is a variation of the Well-Bomber, but brings a decent chunk of group support. It offers a good uptime on AoE Weakness, good control through Blinds and Chills, and very good party Heals. It plays similar to any Well build, but requires careful attention on CDs for best support.
These builds are for those who like what they do and are willing to sacrifice personal DPS for a particular role in a party. These builds aren’t going to match meta, but they will offer a distinct playstyle.
The Minion Master (Credit to OChunx)
OChunx has put together the above build on Minion Masters, and I highly recommend it. The Minion Master is a hybrid build of sorts that doesn’t truly fall into either the ConD or the Power camp. It revolves around keeping your minions alive as long as possible to do most of your damage, while you support them through Regen and Bleeds.
Posted FoxBat on 16 October 2013 - 12:51 AM
The second thing that comes to mind is their gradual introduction of new horizontal stat options. From time to time we have seen new stat combos such as sentinels, settler's, celestial come in tied to some limited resource. There's a limit on how far they can push further stat combos, but there is still some room to do so. These new options become desirable in much the same way new skills do or gw1 armor insignias did. Some people will discard their old gear in search of the new stuff, and in the case of Ascended that is no small task; wheras for things as cheap as exotics, it's not that much of an effort. We might also see incentives for multiple ascended sets appear as infusions proliferate; right now there is an infusion setup for fractals, and a different infusion setup for small groups flipping camps. There may be more specialized infusions appearing in the future.
As for a level cap push upwards. They could do such a thing as Blizzard has founded WoW on. Even in such a case though, the next tier down becomes much more accessible. Note how exotic weapons are now a bit above 1g when they were around 4 thanks to ascended crafting, which I don't think is any accident. So this keeps newcomers and casuals from falling behind, but it may be a hard pill to swallow for the people that stuck all that effort into the ascended grind when it rains on the newbies.
However Anet aren't really *forced* to solve the problem this way. On the other end of the spectrum, they could make ascendeds/legendaries automatically scale with your level in the event of a level cap raise, with lvl 90 exotics being the accessible gear. This means level cap raise does nothing for the gear stat hunt though. A possible compromise would be to offer upgrade recipies that required a significantly lesser amount of grind to achieve that creating the item from scratch. Anet themselves expressed concern about effort put into Ascended feeling worthless so my guess is they will pick something close to this compromise solution. (While probably letting legendaries automatically level or such.)
Another angle to consider is the idea of "inevitable attrition." That is, you assume that your average player is unlikely to last more than X amount of time. Magic: The Gathering devs identified 2 years of intense play as an average for that game, and therefore settled on a 2-year rotation for their flagship format to best serve new players. It does make the 2+ year players less happy but since many of them would quit regardless, it is evaluated as less of a tradeoff versus attracting new players. In the case of GW2 they may only have a grind platform that works well for up to 2 or 3 years, and be unwilling to invest significant resources in extended that versus picking up new players. So it's important that the ascended and then legendary tiers exist, but further tiers beyond that aren't as important as attrition will take those players anyway. Even the phenomenal success of WoW takes into account natural attrition, as they have worked hard to constantly re-invent a single game as much as possible, shedding many bitter fans longing for the old days, but keeping up their total subscriber numbers well over time.
So in closing, while it's very possible for Anet to botch this and fall into the WoW gear treadmill trap, I don't think they have painted themself into a corner here. There are solutions if they are careful about implementing them. We probably won't see much sign of this until a year later once the Asia launch is behind them and they start thinking about expansion-style content.
Posted MisterJaguar25 on 15 October 2013 - 11:11 PM
That makes sense, actually. Tho I don't recall them saying that. Having an extra tier of gear that's a little better than the one you can get for cheap with gold that requires much more grinding is possibly meant to give people one tier of gear that they actually have to work for instead of just lolbuying, than that being the end of it. If they add an entire set of ascended gear, the stat increases would be more than just slight, definitely, but it is a fact that it is completely unnecessary for anything but high level fractals (I get to that in the third paragraph of this post), and as long as they don't gate content behind it, and make it require a really long grind like the ascended weapons, than it can be ignored completely.
As for the argument of WvW imbalance, it's a random group of players of any race and varying levels of gear, ascended gear won't make any serious difference to what's already an imbalanced system. And when you have 10+ people on your tail no amount of ascended gear will save you.
Only problem is that higher level fractals are gated by a requirement for ascended gear, but other than some enemies using different abilities, and spawning in greater numbers, it's the same fractals just harder. And if it's the higher difficulty that you don't want to be forced to grind lesser difficulties for, well this entire game must be too easy for you, so I don't think you would've even made it to level 80 (the level requirement for ascended gear) without quitting from boredom, so that wouldn't even be a problem for you.
Combining all this information I think I can safely conclude that, at this current time, ascended gear creates no serious problem for this game and there is no evidence that it ever will, nor is there any evidence that Anet will make even higher tiers of gear. And that is my argument for this topic.
Posted Graka on 12 October 2013 - 01:18 AM
I honestly think that GW2 was the unfortunate game that was closest to release when NCSoft needed a new game to pull them out of some financial issues. If you look at their financial statements from right before GW2 was release, you will see that they were close to going from black to red and their stock was tanking.
I think we all know that GW2 wasn't ready for release when it was released. Everything was hastily put together - and it showed.
Knowing that the payment model for GW2 was going to be the same as GW1, NCSoft needed to make sure that they could profit from micro-transactions. Hence, we see Kristin Cox get involved. Also, we see Nexon become a large shareholder of NCSoft stock - a company that is based on micro-transactions.
So, what does this have to do with the direction of ANet? Well, I think that GW2, much like GW1, was always going to be a niche game. It wasn't made to cater to hardcore MMO players. It was designed to take some of the best parts of GW1 and merge them with a persistent world where, in my opinion, Dynamic Events were supposed to play a major role in the game. And they did, at least in the beginning.
However, if we accept that NCSoft has already targeted GW2 as a profit center, then we may assume that NCSoft also had to protect that profit center from any issues that might arise. One of those issues could clearly be the fact that GW2 wasn't designed to be like a traditional MMO. Was that something that NCSoft felt safe with? Who knows? But, it is certainly safer to design an MMO that feels more like an MMO than like a niche game.
So, and I know this is all just a theory on my part, but I think that in order to make sure they could profit the most, NCSoft directed ANet to make the game more like a normal MMO. This is why we see the change in philosophy. Not because the players wanted it, or ANet wanted it, but because it was the safest way for NCSoft to protect its investment.
I'm sure I'm gonna get crucified with sarcastic and snide comment for this post...
To be honest most people here see me as a White Knighter, constantly making excuses or defending what is seen as stupid decisions by Anet, this topic actually in a strange way gives me a chance to voice my personal thoughts on the entire Anet issue.
I think the game had a certain direction, which was laid out in the Manifesto, I myself know that many times dreams do not survive the face of reality in the design and programing of games, and some of their dreams had to be put to the wayside. Some of the changes in game design I equate to this, but some I do equate to them hiring staff. They wanted GW2 to be a new type of game, and were delving into areas they had never gone to before so they got outside help from designers and staff of other mmos, Christine Cox was one of these, her involvement can be seen in the changes to Dyes, and the addition of Boxes, this mainly started in december of last year, and if you watch the changes you can see how Anet listened to her advice then started moving back to their own method of doing things. Stuff came out of the black lion chest, and was tradable, then there were the Southsun boxes, were only some stuff was tradable, then Wintersday where you could buy the weapons, but anything from the boxes was offlimits excepting the Perm Hairstyle kit, Fire and frost, everything was in the boxes and not tradable, second southsun, things were in the lockboxes not tradable, but the boxes were now farmable. Then we get to Dragonbash, items came ONLY from the black lion chest, but were still not tradable, but the boxes now dropped everywhere from all mobs. Finally Zepher Sanctum, all weapons became tradable and they only came out of the black lion chests. I know this sounds like rambling on this issue, but if you look at it, they basically did a full circle from halloween to now, listening to the advice of someone they thought knew what they were doing and screwed up and so they went back to what they wanted.
This also happened with Ascended gear, they seemed to want something mroe after exotic, to give people a kind of oomph for gear, like the old school Fissure armor, and his name escapes me, but one of the designers they had was from World of Warcraft and a little while after he came on board this Ascended armor idea was floated around, they released it, ran with it, and from their reactions I think they know it was a big mistake, but it was already too late to get rid of it. So they have been slowly rolling out the rest of it such as the Weapons now, and most likely the armor in November, and want ot expand into more ways of getting the armor, like jewelcrafting making the neckpieces, rings, accessories, armor dropping in dungeons or purchasable with tokens etc. It seems they listened to the advice of a Blizzard guy who was like "a small gear grind wont be taht bad" instead of just sticking to what they knew.
I know it seems like I'm still making excuses for Anet, but I personally think they hired some of the wrong people for the task and listened to these 'experts' cause they were supposedly knowledgable in this field, instead of staying true to their beliefs. The last year has really been Anet starting off a great game, and trying some dumb, and some awesome ideas and coming back to now where I think they are finally doing what they wanted to in the beginning, releasing persistant new content, making a living world and expanding upon what is already in the game. People will always complain about things like the gemstore, (which I personally think certain items like the armors, once bought should be accessable awlays like in GW1).
In conclusion, I think they should fire, or at the minimum not listen to ideas from people from other companies, stick to what they want the game to be, trying new things isnt bad, but trying old stuff from other games, which lets be honest, is the reason people switched to playing GW1, is not hte way to go. I have personally been impressed that they are getting better, and have had some stumbles along the way, I think they are finally finding their heading and moving into a direction which I will continue to play their game long into the future.
Posted Satenia on 08 October 2013 - 04:48 PM
Posted Illein on 02 October 2013 - 06:51 AM
I just can't imagine that they'd go for a live action movie, because the budget would be blown way out of proportions if they want to uphold the quality of their usual little clips at least somewhat decently.
I doubt it will be a mainstream success either way, but it could very well become a mile-stone of animation movies being combined with the video game industry. Sort of like the FINAL FANTASY flick was supposed to, but failed miserably due to an inane plot idea.
Posted NerfHerder on 01 October 2013 - 02:39 PM
If the question were, have you spent as much on GW2 as you would have an MMO with a sub fee? The answer would be less. Most MMOs with a sub fee also have a store. When my poison was SWTOR or DCUO, I paid both the sub fee and bought stuff from their store. For the price point, GW2 has been a much greater value(monetary and personal) than both of those games combined. And, I enjoy supporting a game that I like to play.
I think I'll go buy some gems right now.
Posted Zedabi on 01 October 2013 - 11:12 AM
Lets add some hairstyles
GG anet GG
Yes, we should get the artists and modellers who probably don't have any experience in programming or gameplay balance to fix bugs and help balance the game.
Posted Krazzar on 13 September 2013 - 04:50 PM
Hi. I played more than 11k hours GW1. You are certainly wrong. For example, at one point fairly early on, necromancers and rangers were fairly shunned by PvE groups. So what did they do? A group of players sat down and figured out a team build where necros tanked and boosted the rangers, which did the nuking. It worked amazingly well. Yes, it's true that some builds were better than others, but it's also true that you could sit down and use the 64 skill slots at your disposal to build something that worked.
Even years after this video was made, people still swore that warriors should be tanks. GW1 has a high skill ceiling, even in PvE.
The trinity was already gone in GW1, or rather, you could choose to play without it. You could do what you wanted to. In GW2 you can't. In GW2, there's a much smaller handful of efficient teams, and no way to build past that limit.
For years I was constantly told exactly what profession to be, what build to bring, and exactly how to use it and when in GW1. It was only near the death of it's popularity, when no one cared any longer, did that end. As you even said early on certain professions weren't even allowed in groups, that caused guildmates to delete the characters because there weren't full teams of necros and rangers in outposts. You played what was needed or didn't play most of the time.
In GW2 I've had three instances of "suggestions" of what to do, never have I had the profession or build required. There are far more group options, only rarely does a group fail due to builds and that's usually because there is too much overlap (mostly due to condition limitations). I have logged more hours in GW1 than I ever imagined I could and a large chunk of that time was spent waiting for that one player to fill that last slot. In GW2 we can take anyone and be sucessful. Sounds more like nostalgia replacing reality.
Posted Graka on 28 August 2013 - 09:23 PM
They would have failed and fast, the game would just be another WoW clone and heaped on the dustbin of mmos. People like to complain about GW2 but it shows solid numbers, players, revenue, and is expanding into more markets which shows it is living. But haters gonna hate.
Posted Krazzar on 18 August 2013 - 10:31 PM
Still, it's really funny to see WoW being forcably inserted into every outlet of this news and watching the WoW fanboys try to wriggle out how WoW is better by changing the goalposts. "GW2 might be the fastest selling MMO in 9 months in the history of MMOs, but WoW is better at the things it's better at!", or "you can't trust a marketing firm", "I've never heard of that company" when the data has been checked by a professional data analysis company, the same company Blizzard has used for numerous titles and mountains of stats. In fact, most of the industry has used DFC Intelligence at one point or another. The comments keep up an entertaining pace, denial is dangerous.
Posted NerfHerder on 17 August 2013 - 01:37 AM
Posted Sans on 18 July 2013 - 03:35 PM
You actually enjoy doing CoF1 ?
Guess you just want content that requires no time/effort to complete, and maximum rewards.