Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Defensive MHS Warrior (Mace & Sword) Movie

This is a defensive warrior build and movie using the MHS framework from a previous post.  What distinguishes this build from other variations of the MHS framework are the two blocks from mace and sword.  Of course, you can also get two blocks by going mace and shield but this is not something I plan on doing myself. 

The reason why I am avoiding the shield is because it is too obvious, in my opinion.  The shield is easy to spot and the shield block animation itself is very distinctive and easy to identify.  As the game matures, I think you will find that the number of people who waste a major ability on a shield block will decrease significantly.  On the other hand, the block animations for mace and sword are much more subtle.

For this movie, I ended up using the following build or very slight variations of it.

What's New? -  Working from the 0/0/20/20/15 MHS framework, I've added 10 points to Defense and 5 points to Discipline.  The 10 points in Defense are to have enough points to add Missle Deflection.  This trait is a "must have" if you are using a build that emphasizes blocking since it reflects ranged damage when you block it.  As an added bonus you also get Armored Attack which will add to your power.

The remaining 5 points are put into Discipline.  I used these points to pick up Quick Bursts which reduces your burst cooldowns by 20%.  There are other good choices for that slot, however.

Using Gear to Fill Gaps - As you can see, I have zero points in power and precision with this build.  However, I really do need precision in order to take advantage of my prowess score which increases crit damage.  But that is not a problem, because you can choose gear (in particular, the amulet) to fill stat gaps in your build.

At this time, many people are double-stacking when it comes to traits and gear.  For example, many warriors will max out Arms and Discipline for crit percentage and crit damage and then get the amulet which also increases crit percentage and crit damage.  This kind of stacking is typical for a glass cannon build.  I'm sure the developers are aware of this, but I doubt that is what they actually intend for the system.  In my opinion, the gear choices are there to fill gaps in your build and stats to achieve balance.

So, let's think about how I can fix my glaring weakness with respect to power and precision.  First of all, note that I do not care about condition damage or condition duration with this framework so points spent in Strength and Arms would be wasted in that respect.  So, how can I get more power and precision without putting points into Strength or Arms?  Gear, traits, and ability usage.

As mentioned above, I get some power from Armored Attack.  I also get both might (power) and fury (precision) from "For Great Justice!"  One application of this shout gives 3 stacks of might.  You will notice that sometimes I have 6 stacks of might since I have a shorter shout cooldown and also have increased boon duration from Tactics.  For my amulet, I chose to emphasis precision.  You'll notice that I have a pretty good crit percentage in the movie even though I have no points put into Arms.

Save Your Butt Abilities -  I'm going to call these SYBs for short.  An SYB is ability or trait such as Shrug It Off which gives Endure Pain at 25% health.  Most classes have some SYBs but some are much better than others.  Shrug it Off is particulary good IMO.  These types of abilities protect you from dying to burst.  You might ask, "Well, if you think they are so great then why didn't you take Shrug It Off in your build?"  The answer to that question is that I used a substitute:  The Superior Rune of Svanir.

The effects are dependent on the number of armor pieces the rune is placed in.
  1. +25 toughness
  2. +20% frozen duration
  3. +50 toughness
  4. -50% frozen duration
  5. +90 toughness
  6. You become a block of ice for 5s when you are hit below 20% health.

The toughness fits in well with the defensive MHS framework and the reduced frozen duration is good.  The two piece bonus is a waste however since this build does not offer any offensive freezes.  Of course, the lure here is the six piece bonus.  Notice the wording there.  It says it triggers on the hit after you are under 20% health and the footage from the movie seems to support that.  There is a huge difference between that and having it trigger and nullify the hit that would have taken you under 20%.  For example, let's say you have 10K HP (I'm looking at you, elementalists).  Then, this rune would trigger on the hit after you fall under 2K health.  But, let's say you get hit for 12K damage.  The rune would not trigger at all.

If the SYBs all work this way, then you must have a decent health pool to take advantage of them.  My warrior in this movie hovers around 30K HP.  So, this rune will trigger on the hit after I fall under 6K HP (roughly speaking).  That gives me time to lay out a survival plan and also buys time for my heals to come off of cooldown if they aren't up.  Recall that with the MHS framework you have 3 heals on a 20 second cooldown.  There is a clip in this movie where I chain the iceblock invulnerability with Endure Pain for around 10 seconds of straight invulnerability.  That is buying a lot of time for your heals.

On a side note, I did test having the Superior Rune of Svanir, Endure Pain,and Shrug It Off all at the same time and it is possible for all three of them to go off in a single fight for 15 seconds of invulnerability.  The problem is that Shrug It Off triggers at 25% and Svanir triggers at 20% so they will often times trigger at the same time which is a total waste of one of them.  Hrm, unless you are able to purposefully stagger their respective cooldowns enough so they don't trigger at the same time.... Nevermind, let's move on.

As a last nugget of goodness with the Superior Rune of Svanir set, you can use "Shake It Off!" to remove the iceblock stun but still keep the invulnerability.  If you really want an SYB ability but don't want to spend a trait slot on it then consider the Svanir armor set as a substitute.  But only do so if you have a decent amount of health. 

About the Movie -  All of this footage is from the May stress test.  The PvP servers were not always available and when they were available they were often times unplayable.  That left me fighting the Profession NPCs.  To my surprise, I found out that they are actually pretty good dueling partners.  They aren't as good as an experienced player (of course) but they can be pretty challenging if you have a bad build or if you aren't paying attention and make mistakes. 

I don't think any of them swap weapons while in combat.  Some of them heal themselves, but some don't.  Nonetheless, they are an excellent tool for tweaking a build and finding something that works for you.  Congratulations to ArenaNet for creating dueling NPCs that sometimes felt like there was actual intelligence behind them. 


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  2. Update please? Vigorous Shouts are now Tier 3... I thought about removing 10 points of Discipline to get it