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Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 2 Thoughts In A Nutshell

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Hello everyone! This post is to cover the changes in Beta Weekend Event 2 for Chronomancer, Dragonhunter, Reaper, Tempest, Berserker, Daredevil and the Revenant. I’ll also throw in a little Stronghold.

I want to note that the new section of Verdant Brink players can get into has way more challenging monsters and good event chains which is great. Well, seeing Lord Far… I mean, Swordmaster Faren in a speedo in the middle of a monster infested jungle wasn’t planned but was an interesting twist as side story. Anyways, the enemies are much more challenging and annoying to deal with which is good because players have to actually try and watch their positioning in fights. Alright, now, onto the elite specializations!

The Elite Specializations

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Chronomancer mostly got a balance in traits to reduce illusion spamming as it was a little too good (sorry mesmers). As I was fighting I definitely saw that I needed to work a bit more in order to summon illusions but it wasn’t to the point of being exceedingly hard. Also, Gravity Well (elite) was updated to pull every pulse which I found to be a nice change. Then I experienced it on the receiving end in Stronghold. Not a fun well to be in.

Next up is Dragonhunter. There are more changes in the works but for this beta weekend event the virtues got an update, the longbow’s Symbol of Energy got a damage buff & traps and traits got buffs. The virtues feel good with the Spear of Justice range lining up with the longbow range and Wings of Resolve healing more. I still think the cast time for traps need to go down. I also think Heavy Light needs to be removed or reworked to be attached to a longbow skill besides basic attacks. 240 knock back doesn’t seem like much but it’s enough to knock an enemy out of AoE which is very annoying. No wait, Extremely. Annoying.

Reaper, I thought was good, but now it’s really time to consider fearing the Reaper. They buffed pretty much everything: Greatsword payoffs are better, Reaper Shroud got tweaked and the shouts are stronger and have reduced or instant cast times. So I really have no complaints. One of my favorite changes to greatsword is that you can move while casting Nightfall (Greatsword 4) so you can move with your enemy in order to place the AoE blind properly. This allows you to land the rest of your skills successfully.

Tempest overall got a damage buff to some warhorn skills and overloads. The 2 main issues is a range indicator for Overloads. I’d like to know the area which my Overload Air is affecting when I’m bring lighting down on enemies. The other issue is Overload water as I’m still not really seeing the big heal. Maybe everyone’s health is topped off when I get to that point, I’m not sure.

Berserker is in a solid place. There’s definitely more damage options in the traits and rage skills and a clear view for condition damage that surrounds burning. I especially like Outrage since it’s a stun breaker on a really low cooldown. Torch is a pretty decent condition type of weapon, I can see it being used in PvP. The primal burst skills are all pretty decent, each providing an augmented version of the normal burst skills, most of them supplying fire. Since this is a new elite specialization, I’ll put out a post to describe my thoughts in more detail.

Daredevil brings back the dodge combat that fell out of the thief meta via traits and the 3rd endurance bar. It does so in a way that it isn’t horribly to strong and still rewards skillful dodging. Staff is a decent weapon but it’s hard to say right now if it’ll be viable for sPvP at all skill levels. Bandit’s Defense and Impact Strike are great physical skills to take in most scenarios with the other physical skills being situational (based on the build). I think the damage on the Impact strike combo needs to go down a bit since the first two skills are hard crowd control and Impact Strike’s Finishing Blow kills a person when the damage from Finishing Blow would put them into down state. Again, since this is a new elite specialization, I’ll put out a post to describe my thoughts in more detail.

Revenant Changes & Herald

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Revenant I spent most of my time with Shiro, Jalis and Glint with Sword/Shield and Hammer. So I can’t really speak about any changes to Ventari, Mallyx and their associated weapons. Buff to sword and tweaks to Shiro were amazing. There’s still an issue using Unrelenting Assault on an enemy near a wall but the rest is pretty great. Shiro got some nice tweaks, especially to the heal; you can now proc the heal on attack much quicker.

Now let’s talk Herald. Shield it really good. And I’m not saying that, it’s really good. The base heal on the skills make it a worthy option. To add on Envoy of Exuberance‘s (Shield 4) AoE protection you can grant to allies from a distance is great and the break bar on Crystal Hibernation (Shield 5) really helps with dealing with some binds.

The utilities are fantastic to say the least. The healing skill can help you heal to full if getting bombarded with attacks. In fact all the utility actives are pretty decent, You have a stealth reveal, AoE damage/condition field, a facing damage swipe, and a channeled cone knock down. What’s cool about the Facet utility skills is that you can have 2 or 3 on at a single time which is great for preparing for a fight or simply running around. I mean, who doesn’t like perma swiftness?

The Herald is meant to be a party support type but the specialization line can be customized to support you in combat or your allies around you.

Stronghold Hype!

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The first BWE I didn’t get a chance to get into stronghold because I was testing out the elite specializations. This time I actually spent quite a few games in Stronghold. So the opening strategy I like the best is sending one person to defend (preferably someone tanky), one or two to the enemy guards (DPS) and the rest to supply camp. From there you assess what to do next. Trebuchet is really good for the one defending because people don’t expect it and either come up to stop you or still try to take out guards which is much more in your favor. The strategy I saw in a few games is that people wrap around the backline in order to attack the enemy doorbreakers earlier. This works if no one is escorting. I don’t like it too much because you run a high risk of being seen by a lot of people before actually attacking the doorbreakers.

I still find the map a bit snowball-y if a team gets a really good start due to the death timers being the same for the duration of a match. If a team is hard pushing for lord and fail, they don’t really get punished due to just reapplying pressure. There’s not enough time for the other team to mount a half decent offensive unless they have really mobile people. Thankfully, there’s overtime. Overtime is a cool mechanic. I only experienced it once and won because I cleaved someone to gain the 5 point lead before the timer ran out.

To Conclude

And those are my thoughts from BWE1 into BWE2 and Stronghold. I’ll be making separate posts on Berserker and Daredevil. To summarize, Chronomancer is in a good spot, Dragonhunter still needs work, Reaper is in a good spot, Tempest is almost in a good spot, Berserker is solid but can use some tweaks, Daredevil need some tweaks, Revenant is looking pretty solid and Stronghold can be a bit snowball-y if your team mess up early; otherwise it’s a very fun PvP mode to play.

Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 1 Thoughts: The Chronomancer

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These are my general thoughts of the Mesmer elite specialization: the Chronomancer. I was able to try out this elite specialization for the first time ever in the first beta weekend event for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns! So without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Shield

I have to say, the shield skills for Chronomancer are quite entertaining to use. The shield promotes seeing into the future per say. You can either block an attack with Echo of Memory/Deja Vu (Skill 4) or daze with Tides of Time (Skill 5). Clone upkeep using shield requires you to block successfully and the pay off is worth it. The clones you get for blocking grant Alacrity which speeds up skill recharge while Tides of Time grants you quickness when you walk into it. Shield brings about a new aspect of play so I’d say it’s worth trying it out and seeing if it’s for you. There are times where the return aspect for Tides of Time doesn’t work properly. I think this is a bug due to hitting part of the world that’s causing the issue.

Wells

Now, let’s talk about Chronomancer wells! The wells themselves and concerning what each of them provide are pretty decent overall. However, some wells have a longer casting time than other wells. The elite well takes 1 second to cast which makes sense (it’s an elite after all) but the 2 damage-oriented wells takes 3/4 to a second to cast. The other 2 utility wells, that are more support-oriented, are 1/4 of a second to cast. It felt weird trying to lay down Well of Calamity sometimes which, if you couldn’t tell be the name, is a damage oriented well. I found myself interrupting the well cast in order to keep up shatter combos and clone upkeep. I really think that the cast time on the damage utility wells need to go down by 1/4 or 1/2 a second. There’s a bug where the wells sometimes don’t visibly appear when I casted them or the outer ring for the well appeared but the actual well doesn’t show up and goes on cooldown.

Continuum Shatter

Next up is the addition of the F5 shatter: Continuum Split & Continuum Shift. This one will take a bit of practice to use in terms of knowing how much time you have in your Split Duration which is dependent on the number of clones you shatter. I can see it as a way to quickly dodge a big hit in a quick Split Duration or to barrage an enemy with spells when you have a good Split Duration going. This shatter definitely has a high skill cap and players will have to experiement a bit in order to get what they want out of it.

The Chronomancer specialization line is pretty solid allowing players to explore more clone and shatter options while also giving you an option to improve your wells.

So to sum things up, I think Chronomancer is in a really good place right now. It feels really polished. There’s just a bit of well cast time clunk and the odd bug here and there.

Summed Up In Video Format

The First Heart Of Thorns Beta Weekend Event Starts August 7th!

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It’s that time again friends! The latest blog post by Colin Johanson reveals that the first beta weekend is upon us and starts Friday, August 7th at noon Pacific and ends on Monday, August 10th at noon Pacific. Anyone who pre-purchased Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns will be able to try out the starting area aka Verdant Brink for Heart of Thorns as well as the first story instance. The content in this area will give ArenaNet enough information to gain a good understand of how everything works and to properly update the content that appears later in the expansion. There’s also the following:

– Players can make a character of any profession and any race; you’ll will have access to level 80 gear.

– The Revenant profession will be available as well as the Shiro legend and specialization line. The elite specializations announced will be available as well. That’s Chronomancer, Dragonhunter, Reaper and Tempest

– You may take your beta character into the world of Tyria for PvE, PvP & WvW

– The sPvP Stronghold mode will be available and pre-purchasers will have all 3 Mist Champions unlocked

– The Map Bonus Reward system, which basically rewards players for completing events, will be active so players can experience what it feels like

– Progress for this beta weekend event will be saved for the next beta weekend so you can pick up where you left off

– Players will have 4 beta character slots to play with

Looking For Feedback

ArenaNet want your feedback on all the content they’re letting people play so they can fine tune it or make it better. Is the jungle content not to your liking? Why so? Do you like the feel of Dragonhunter? Do you like the bonus map rewards you’re getting? These are just some of the questions they want player’s feedback on. I encourage you to let yourself be heard on the forums.

If you’re not going to Gamescon, I hope you didn’t make plans for next weekend!

Mesmer Specialization Thoughts: Illusions & Chronomancer

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Time to show off my thoughts on the Mesmer specializations along with their Elite specialization: Chronomancer! Just a heads up to everyone, rather than having a huge post on core specialization or 16 posts covering each profession and their elite specializations afterwards, I decided to do 8 posts: each post will cover a profession and their elite specialization once announced. If Revenant specializations show up down the road, then there will be a post on that as well. So, let’s get started!

Mesmer Core Specialization

Domination has some vulnerability and interrupt changes which I like. There’s also the Mental Torment trait that promotes shattering phantasms instead of keeping them out. Overall, I feel the line is a decent one to choose.

Dueling is going to be very interesting. Mesmers now have to actually shattering clones/phantasms for confusion from Confusing Combatants rather than pulling out new clones and the older ones shatter automatically or let enemies kill your illusions for confusion. Evasive Mirror looks like a really good trait to get to reflect projectiles after successfully dodging (those pesky Rapid Fire rangers). Harmonious Mantras promotes actually using Mantras by giving you an activation damage boost that stacks. What I really like in this line is Mistrust; this allows you to apply confusion in an area when you interrupt someone. Combining this with the Domination line could be quite fun.

Chaos is more defensive in nature. Master of Manipulation allows you to reflect projectiles for a short period when you use a Manipulation skill and can work well with Evasive Mirror. Chaos Dampening will be really good for getting frequent Chaos armor. Prismatic Understanding is the key trait in this line as it increases the duration of stealth. This trait brings Mass Invisibility elite skill on par with a Thief’s Shadow Refuge skill.

Inspiration bring about buffs to Phantasms. I like Phantasmal Healing as it promotes having the max amount of illusions out and not just Phantasms. There are some traits for speed buffs by using shatters and glamour skills as well.

Illusions helps promote shattering Phantasms with the Persistance of Memory trait. Sum of All Fears seems like a decent trait to have as it applies Torment when you apply 5 stacks of confusion. The Grandmasters in this line helps with shatters and Blinding Befuddlement helps apply longer durations of confusion.

To summarize the core specialization for Mesmer, I feel Mesmers have a bit of a higher skill cap with some trait changes and removal of a lot of Retaliation traits. However, there are quite a few options for Mantra and Phantasm builds. Confusion and Interrupt builds seem to be really potent for a majority of play. I also like the speed traits in the Inspriation line. Domination, Dueling and Illusions will probably be the lines mostly chosen with Chaos and Inspiration being good line choices for WvW.

Chronomancer Elite Specialization

Game Designer Robert Gee who work on the Mesmer and Necromancer specializations wrote the article about the Chronomancer which is the elite specialization for Mesmers. Note that this specialization will be available if you get Heart of Thorns. So what does this specialization offer? Well there are three core things I want to cover about this specialization: Offhand Shield, the Alacrity effect and the skills, specifically the F5 skill called “Continuum Split/Shift”.

For those who don’t know, Chronomancer is essentially a Time Mage and the Mesmer can do just that: time magic! In fact, Memsers are the only profession that can access the new alacrity effect which speeds up the recharge of skills (aka opposite of chill). In some situations, Memsers can share alacrity with allies!

Now, onto the shield. The shield has “time skills” that allows players to use them frequently if used correctly. One such skill is Tides of Time that sends a wave of energy forward and back to the caster. This wave can block projectiles and grants quickness to allies and stuns foes if it hits them. This effect can be applied again to allies and foes when the wave returns to the caster. If the caster gets hit with the wave, they gain some reduced recharge on the skill so it can be used again sooner!

It seems a majority of the Chronomancer skills will be wells with clock-like themes. The clock on the well actually has a tick animation which signals when the well will activate a burst effect. These wells do the regular pulse damage/effect and are either defensive or offensive in nature. Now for the Chronomancer’s F5 skill. This is called Continuum Split and the followup skill is called Continuum Shift. Basically, the Split activation shatters all illusions giving the Chronomancer a window to perform actions. The window time is increased depending on the number of illusions shattered. When the time ends or if Shift is activated, the Chronomancer returns to their starting position with the health, endurance and cooldowns they had when they activated Continuum Split. In other words, Continuum Split/Shift acts as a reset button.

These abilities alone can really make Mesmers amazing. Combining the time skills and alacrity with illusions promotes shatter skills and Mantra use. This in turn increases damage output and for one-on-one scenarios, Memsers could probably burst their opponents down fairly well.

We’ll find out more about the Chronomancer on Points of Interest tomorrow on May 1st at noon Pacific. As usual, it will be on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel!