Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1.3.5 Vulture Lord changes

Check out the changes to Boss 7 in ToVL at Werit's blog.

I'm the archmage in that video. Yeah, I'm not a very good archmage, but at least Werit didn't make me look bad. Kudos!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

2 handed tanking example - ToVL Boss 5

I took some video of my group's Vulture Lord run this week. This one took an hour between solo purgers and crashes, so we called it after this one.

Those who say the Swordmaster is weak are misguided. When people begin to realize that Elves in general are quite selfish, I think they'll be seen a bit differently. People ask for more group friendly abilities and that's not what Elves are in this game. My build for tanking is focused solely keeping myself up without overburdening healers and putting out as much DPS as possible while doing so to hold threat. This allows my DPS to go full blast without worrying about stealing hate.

If a Swordmaster dies to anything, it's usually his own fault. This is especially true in PvE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An interesting screenshot from PTS

What in the world is Tchar'zanek's Tower? I had a lockout from the Eternal Citadel when I copied my character over and saw this on my lockout tab.

Speculation anyone?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2 tanks, 2 healers, 2 DPS is least for Lost Vale.

I logged into WAR after getting home last night, and I was told that I was needed to tank a Lost Vale run to get some gear for a Witch Hunter who just joined Circle of Rage, my guild on Volkmar.

Here's how it went down. I left the sound in for the first boss since there's useful information about the fight in it, but the rest, you probably don't want to hear it. :)

Moral of the story, high DPS covers a multitude of sins, at least in WAR.

I can't think of a good soundtrack to put with it, so any suggestions are welcome.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Swordmaster and Group Utility part 4

In the last part, I discussed builds useful when Whispering Winds is useful to your group. In this part, I'll show builds I use when WW is not useful to your group.

The first consideration when WW is not useful to your group is whether or not you need another knock down. I like to have two reliable hard CC abilities in the group so that two healers can be neutralized at the same time or within a short period of time at least. If you're it for CC and you are RR60 plus, use the CC extreme spec in part 3.

If you do not need the second knock down, you are basically a guard/challenge/distracting bellow bot. You need to be able to survive being hit by guard damage as well as any focus fire directed your way. The easiest way to make sure that you can do this is to wear a shield. The shield will block guard damage very reliably allowing the healers to just focus on your guardee. This will completely gut your burst though, forcing the rest of your group to make up the difference, so I only recommend this as a last resort. Also, Wall of Darting Steel will help you parry guard damage.

If you've decided to use the 2h like a real SM ;) and you don't need WW for your group, use the specs below. Modify for your RR by dropping extra points from Khaine or dropping Aethyric Armor.

DPS/Guard/Challenge bot spec
This has a little survivability added in. You have no extra CC or debuffs though. I like it's simplicity and ease of play. Only to be used when the CC needs of the group are WELL covered elsewhere.

DPS/Guard/Challenge/Debuff spec
Note: This spec makes me REALLY squishy. Don't say I didn't warn you. But it allows you to protect your guardee much better. Also, no extra CC is given here. Make sure your CC needs are well met.

DPS/Guard/Challenge/Heal support spec
I don't really like this spec, but it can be useful in the 3 tank, 2 dps, 1 healer group when your group doesn't take good advantage of WW. You can forgo one of the Khaine tactics for something else like Ensorcelled Agony.

If you need the knockdown or a shield, here's a few specs to help out. Also, feel free to use the full support spec or the healing support shield version from part 3 if using a shield even if your group can't take advantage of WW. WW and Sapping Strike work well together.

DPS/Knockdown Hybrid
Again, RR60+ needed. You can also take a different tactic from either Khaine or Vaul instead of Great Weapon Mastery.

2h Knockdown/Debuff spec
This provides an element of deception. You really don't have much DPS in this spec, but you do have a good number of debuffs available with your knockdown. It's not as effective as the WW full support spec though. A knockdown is generally superior to a silence, so that's the trade-off.

Shield Knockdown/Debuff spec
The unassigned mastery points can go wherever. This gives you the debuffs, the knockdown, and Crushing Advance for the extra interrupt. You won't have any DPS, but you'll be able to protect your guardee quite well while protecting yourself from guard damage.

I'm on a ToVL kick recently, so when I remember to get some video of it, I'll show you how crazy an SM (or two) :) is in PvE.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tarelther's Take on the City Siege 1.3.5.

First things first. We now have a proper PvP endgame for a PvP game. PvE endgame to a PvP game didn't make much sense.

Full details on the changes can be found here.

I like that I no longer have to try to coordinate hundreds of people across multiple instances to make sure I didn't just waste 3-4 hours pushing the campaign forward to be denied because one instance lost one stage of the city public quest. It's much easier to coordinate hundreds of players when you can actually see what they are doing and help them out. Once the city is cracked open, it's my warband against the enemy warband, and may the best win.

I do like that defenders actually do get a shot at the best stuff in the game. It appears that this will truly be hard mode for getting the gear though. On the other hand, if defenders are at too much of a disadvantage, they may not show at all, and then we're back to the same problem we have now. Stage 1 is heavily slanted towards the invaders for example. If the invaders can manage one wipe of the defenders early, it looks like they'll be able to take the first two objectives easily, especially if they get lucky and leave the enemy with a 30s respawn.

Stage 3 just looks cool. Instead of NPCs being the raid bosses, players are the raid bosses. This was already a trend in other games (like LotRO and Aion). I've got my final judgment on it reserved until I play it and it's tweaked. I think it could be awesome though. I prefer fighting actual intelligence to artificial intelligence anyway. If the champions are too strong, everyone else will die too quickly and it will just be the champions fighting each other. If too weak, it'll be zergball on the champ healers. Both are equally lame. In an ideal situation, the Champions will need the non-Champions to protect them from getting zerged down and the non-Champions need the Champions to prevent from being overpowered by enemy Champions. It'll require testing. Wards do play a role in this though. If one side doesn't have Excelsior Wards and the other does, it won't be pretty for the side that doesn't. It should be that way in my opinion. They don't really need the Sovereign anyway if they lack the Excelsior Wards.

Stage 2 looks kinda blah, but again, it'll require playing it to find out. It could be awesome. It could also be a snorefest escort quest.

So hopefully, it'll be coming soon to a Public Test Server near you. Come on out and leave your feedback.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Swordmaster and group utility part 3

In part 2, I talked about how to build a spec for group support. In this part, I'm going to give specs that I use to support my group when Whispering Winds is useful to the group. All of these variations will use Heaven's Blade as the main blade enchant except for the last one.

Full support spec

This spec completely guts my dps. Shield use is optional here. The idea of the build is to target a healer/caster, use Whispering Winds, and then rotate Sapping Strike, Intimidating Blow, and Dazzling Strike 3 times. It is very difficult for an opponent to cast anything, and anything that gets off won't crit as much. For RR60, take out Protection of Hoeth.

CC extreme version 1

CC extreme version 2

This gives both a silence and a knockdown to play with. I only run this when I don't have anyone else in the group who can get that CC for less mastery points, like an IB or Engineer or Knight. Version 1 gives Lingering Intimidation. Version 2 gives Protection of Hoeth. RR60 version takes neither of those two.

This spec I usually knockdown or silence on one target as a feint, then have my group FF a second target that I knockdown or silence when I get back up to Perfect Balance. Don't do that every time of course or the enemy will get used to it.

Healing support shield version

Healing support 2h version

I haven't run this one in awhile since I lack the good hp regen gear (curse you crappy ToVL drop rates). This is a spec that lets you get anyway with overextending a little bit. If my group's heals are a little weak, it helps a little in that regard. This works well in a 3 tank, 2 dps, one healer setup when I am not the guy assigned to protect the healer. I ran with this kind of group for 8 hours one day without losing once. Nobody thought to try to kill the tanks first. The other two tanks were squishier than the dps in that group.

Hybrid spec

I run this a lot. I prefer more burst damage over more consistent damage, so I take BA over GWM. Parry is too easy to circumvent in RvR. I can also take Crashing Wave instead of WW if WW doesn't help my group much. It's a good balance. If I have a Knight around who is debuffing resistances, I'll run Nature's Blade here instead of Heaven's Blade. I like it and it gets the job done most of the time. If it doesn't, I'll use one of the 5 specs above.

In the next part, I'll go over builds I use when Whispering Winds is not well suited to supporting my group.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to solve the color puzzle on boss 7 ToVL everytime with no mistakes in 3 easy steps.

At the beginning of the puzzle, 6 players each have a debuff that can be 1 of 3 colors. There are always two of each color, 2 Red, 2 Green, and 2 Blue. If two different colors meet, one of them is removed according to a set pattern. If two of the same color meet, one of the players is killed instantly. For the purpose of this solution, knowing the exact removal pattern is not necessary.

Step 1. Have a red, green, and blue come together. Two of the colors will be knocked out, leaving two of one the colors, referred to as the duplicated color, and one of each of the two remaining colors, the unique colors.

Step 2. Have the unique colors each go to a different duplicated color. This will leave the duplicated color and one of the two unique colors.

Step 3. The two remaining colors come together to solve the puzzle.

Example. After step 1, you have 2 blues, a red and green left. The red should go to one of the blues and the green to the other. This will leave a blue and either a red or green. The final two colors come together to finish the puzzle.

No more wiping to the colors on this fight. Get it done!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tarelther's Proposed SM Revamp.

After reading many of the complaints about the SM class on the forums, I came up with a set of improvements to the SM that would help give the class more identity.

First, I decided each path should have a new theme. Khaine would be focused on offense and debuffing opponents. Vaul would be focused on defense and disabling opponents. Hoeth would be focused on bolstering allies and neutralizing enemy magic.

Core changes.

Eagle's Flight mirrored to Suppression. Improves chance to parry by 25% for 15s and has a 10s recast.
Dragon's Talon effect increased to match Crippling Strikes. Reduces target's damage by 25% for 10s.
Dampening Talon effect duration increased to 10s to match new duration of Dragon's Talon.

Forceful Shock. The damage added from Blurring Shock whenever a target is critically hit is doubled.

Khaine changes.

Sapping Strike. Now drains 15 AP per second for 5 seconds. You will gain any AP your target lost.
Phoenix's Wing. Your blade enchant now will trigger 100% of the time when using this ability.

Vaul changes.

Redirected Force. Requires Block. Knocks back your opponent a long distance. 20s recast.
Crashing Wave. This ability is now available 9 points up Vaul. Secondary effect removed to compensate.

Crushing Advance. Now 13 points up Vaul. Requires Block or Parry. Increases armor for 20s, interrupts the target, and increases block and parry chance by 5%.

Hoeth changes.

Heaven's Blade. Will now increase resists of group members within 100 feet as well.
Dazzling Strike. This effect will disorient the target for 10s.
Bolstering enchantments. When your blade enchants trigger, they will also restore 50 AP over 10 seconds to your group members, but you will gain no benefit from this and the effect will not refresh itself while it is active.
Blessing of Heaven. Path of Hoeth abilities place an effect on your target for 10 seconds. During this time, any allies who strike the target have a 25% chance to restore 50 AP. A player may only benefit from this once every 3 seconds and you will gain no benefit from this effect.

The Sapping Strike change idea was give the SM an AP restoration tool that it lacks compared to all other tanks. The idea behind the Phoenix's Wing change was to give it some utility like the Black Orc's Big Swing. The Vaul changes were to balance out the disparity between the amount of investment in mastery points required for the SM to obtain hard CC compared to other tanks. I liked Keedo's idea about changing the Hoeth tactics to affect AP regen. I believe this will create great synergy with Whispering Winds, since AP usage can be a big problem with players being able to spam their higher damage abilities while under the effect. This also gives the SM a unique way to increase the strength of his group.

Let me know what you think.