Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 2 Thoughts: The Daredevil
These are my general thoughts of the Thief elite specialization: the Daredevil! I was able to try out this elite specialization for the first time in the second beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! Since Thief is my main profession, I’ll be taking a hard look at this elite specialization.
Melee staff is the weapon Thieves get with this elite specialization. At first I wasn’t too impressed. After toying around with the staff and trying out combos it was a lot more fun to use. However, it’s not the most optimal weapon. Let’s go over the skills to see why:
Staff Strike: this skill chains into Staff Bash and then Punishing Strikes which applies vulnerability. When stealthed you have access to Hook Strike for a single target knockdown auto attack. These skills are actually alright. They provide a good range for hitting multiple opponents and the damage output is quite decent.
Weakening Charge: So this skill is a short range charge that does 3 strikes and applies weakness. I feel the range for this is a bit on the short end and it seems that this skill doesn’t act on target at times but charges in the direction you’re facing which is annoying when you want to get back into fights quickly. I’ve never really prioritized applying weakness before but this skill made me want to in order to reduce the damage I took.
Debilitating Arc: this skill allows to to evade a short distance backwards and removes any immobilizing conditions. This skill is pretty decent, as it acts like a shorter ranged Withdraw without the heal. At first I thought the range was short but it is okay for quick disengages and you can assess whether to fight or flee.
Dust Strike: you use your staff to sweep the ground in front of you, making a line of dust that blinds foes. I found myself using this the least due to the animation windup. The actual dust from this skill is transparent in fights so this skill needs an indicator or darker colors for visibility. I feel like this skill should have a target number of 5 due to it’s range of impact.
Vault: Leap to a location dealing AoE damage on landing. The damage is great on this skill but the animation time is very clunky making it impractical to use in the middle of an sPvP fight. This skill needs a faster animation.
Staff Wielding Animation
One thing I’d like to note with melee staff that was bugging me all weekend, and I didn’t note this with melee staff on Revenant, is that the idle and running animations while holding a melee staff aren’t good in theory. The proper way to hold a staff is to have the head pointing forwards ready or strike or defend with your hands at the base of the weapon. When running, the staff I think should be held in a fashion which the user can perform a sweeping strike as if running into combat. Right now the staff is using the hammer animations which is fine for beta but I expect a more realistic melee staff stance down the road.
The physical skills I feel like are more situational for the build you want to make.
Channeled Vigor: The heal is quite good but requires you to be out of range of attacks to heal up properly and not get interrupted. This can be accomplished with Shadowstep or Vault.
Bandit’s Defense: One of the best physical utility skills. This is a skill that blocks attacks for a second, knocking down anyone in melee range if blocked successfully. But that’s not all. This skill is a stun break on a 10 second cooldown. That is amazing. I have little to complain about this one.
Distracting Daggers: A good skill in theory but suffers from interval cooldowns making it a non-pickup for me. It takes a second to equip the daggers and another second to equip another dagger after throwing one taking away from the active duration. I don’t mind waiting a second for the active but having an additional interval for throwing my daggers out is annoying. I would remove the interval or even make the entire skill instant cast on the activation and each dagger. The reason you’d want to use this skill is to on-the-spot interrupt an enemy’s skill or break a defiance bar. The intervals do not help with either.
Fist Flurry: This skill sounds great in theory but difficult to execute in sPvP. You get a lot of hits in with this skill but you need to land everything to get access to Palm Strike which you also have to land to attach the Pulmonary Impact mark. Nothing wrong with the skill but it’s not worth the pick up unless you know you can hit every strike a majority of the time. I wouldn’t use it just because I already have damage output and would rather have utilities that help me survive.
Impairing Daggers: A skill that I find is ideally good for single target burst builds. If this skill lands it immobilizes, slows and poisons. It’s a good follow up from landing Panic Strike.
Impact Strike: This skill makes me feel dirty after using it. It’s a 3 hit combo that damages & dazes on the first hit, damages & knocks up on the second. The third strike does damage and finishes the enemy if it would put them into downstate or are already in down state. There are ways around this skill like stun breaking, blocking or blinking away but you have to be really fast about it. Maybe the damage on this skill needs to go down a bit. I like the idea of the skill but if you land the first hit you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the combo off. And I’ve seen this combo hit for around 8-9k health if the person couldn’t stun break it. Oh, and I’d like the finisher I’ve equipped to work with this skill.
So I want to quickly talk about the 3 dodges Daredevils have access to:
Lotus Training: This changes your dodge to fling daggers to nearby enemies causing bleeding, torment and cripple. This dodge is ideal for condition builds with Double Daggers.
Unhindered Combatant: This changes your dodge to a long range dash that removes movement conditions (immobilize, cripple, chill) and grants swiftness. This is good for stealth oriented builds since you may want to dodge while invisible and you don’t want to accidentally reveal yourself by doing dodge damage. The problem with this dodge is the dash animation is odd. It seems to accelerate your running animation which feels odd to work with. A custom animation where the player literally lifts off the ground to dash would be much better and cleaner.
Bounding Dodger: This essentially changes your dodge to a mini-Vault. This is the dodge you want for dodge damage builds and will probably be what the majority of players will pick come launch. The animation is a fraction of a second longer than a normal dodge so players will have to get used to that.
With all this talk for dodging, the Daredevil specialization line naturally compliments dodging. There are traits revolving around staff and physical skills but the ones I want to focus on are Escapist’s Absolution and Impacting Disruption.
Escapist’s Absolution removes a condition when you successfully evade. This used to be in the old Acrobatics line. Right now the best way to condition cleanse in PvP is to run Shadow Arts because Fleet of Foot (old dodge condi cleanse) was removed & Pain Response (in the current Acrobatics) is fairly decent for cleansing a few damaging conditions but has way too long of a recharge time to be worth picking up. Successfully dodging with Escapist’s Absolution removes one condition but I feel like with the strength conditions have these days this should be specific to damage oriented conditions at the very least. Thieves have a bunch of good ways to break out immobilizing effects; I don’t want to dodge and remove cripple when I want to remove the 7 stacks of burn on me. Maybe it’s okay to bring Fleet of Foot back in some form in place of Escapist’s Absolution; with a fair cooldown of course.
Impacting Disruption is a great trait. This adds a Pulmonary Impact mark on players you interrupt and it has no cooldown. The one thing I forgot to mention is that Pulmonary Impact doesn’t have a visual cue for Daredevils (or their target) to know if the mark was applied. Some sort of icon in the conditions area or a mark above their head would be a nice addition.
To conclude, the Daredevil is a fun specialization bringing back dodge combat for thieves. I feel a few tweaks with Staff (wielding and combat animations), some physical skills and the Dash dodge are in order. We’ll see what the next beta weekend brings for this elite specialization.
Posted on September 9, 2015, in Games, Guild Wars 2 and tagged ArenaNet, daredevil, dodge, Guild Wars 2, GW2, gw2hot, heart of thorns, physical skills, staff, thief. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.