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Overwatch Beta Starts October 27th!

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For those of you interested in Overwatch, Blizzard’s upcoming First Person shooter, you’ll be happy to hear that beta will be starting on October 27th. Blizzard stated in their latest Overwatch blog post that they are looking for player feedback on the core game and server stability.

There will be two types of betas:

  • Closed Beta – a small number of testers that will have regular access. This will mainly be to test core systems.
  • Best Test Weekends – a large number of people can play for a certain amount of time. This will be for stress testing. These weekends will run in parallel with the closed beta.

Sadly the beta will be for Windows-only. You’ll also need the Battle.net desktop app to play. You’ll receive an email if you’re accepted into either of the two beta options with instructions on how to proceed. If you don’t get into Closed Beta, perhaps you’ll get in on a beta weekend. The first Beta Test Weekend is slated for after BlizzCon 2015; this year BlizzCon is on November 6th and 7th.

If you’re looking to get in, good luck!

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 Reaper

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These are my general thoughts of the Necromancer elite specialization: the Reaper. 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! This elite specialization was my favorite to test out on the weekend.

Greatsword

The greatsword is an interesting weapon that rewards positioning while channeling skills. Each greatsword skill is pretty good and rewards you well for successful hits. Let’s go over each of the skills:

Dusk Strike (Skill 1): The basic attack which chains into Fading Twilight then Chilling Scythe. These attacks feel good and are pretty smooth.

Gravedigger (Skill 2): A heavy hit that you have to channel for a second which is a decent trade off for the damage this skill does

Death Spiral (Skill 3): This is one skill that you don’t want to miss, it takes a second to channel but getting all the hits of this skill on an enemy will apply around 12 stacks of vulnerability which is amazing.

Nightfall (Skill 4): This is an AoE you place around yourself that damages foes and applies blind and cripple. I really like this skill on the greatsword because it helps with using skills 1, 2 and 3

Grasping Darkness (Skill 5): This damages and pulls in any enemies that are in range. You also apply poison and gain life force for each enemy it hits. This is a nice medium ranged crowd control skill that has the added benefit of a condition, damage and life force. Nothing to complain about here.

I can see players having a bit of a hard time if they solely use Gravedigger or Death Spiral alone because they can be easily dodged or interrupted. However, if you work in Grasping Darkness into Nightfall as prep for Gravedigger and Death Spiral then you can do a lot of damage.

Shouts

The Reaper shouts are pretty great. They act a bit like instant Necromancer wells and are more effective the more targets you hit.

The biggest annoyance with Reaper shouts is the cast time. The utility Reaper shouts should not have or have a really low cast time. The elite shout’s cast time is fine due to it being an AoE stun. Maybe the heal’s cast time can stay as well. But players shouldn’t have to consistently worry about their utility shouts being interrupted. It doesn’t feel good, in fact, it feels strange considering most shouts are instant or channeled due to having a channeling effect. In the case of a channeling effect, the shout Rise can be the exception and have a small channel.

Reaper Shroud

Reaper Shroud was really fun to use and I have done tons of damage getting reaper combos off. An important thing to note is that any basic traits used for Death Shroud also work with Reaper Shroud. For example, the Necromancer Soul Reaping trait Dhuumfire works with Death Shroud Skill 1 and Reaper Shroud Skill 1. Speaking of shroud skills, let’s break them down:

Life Rend (Skill 1): The basic attack which chains into Life Slash then Life Reap. These attacks, like greatsword, feel good.

Death’s Charge (Skill 2): Very nice sliding skill for getting out of AoE or re-positioning. Provides an AoE blind at the end which is a nice bonus

Infusing Terror (Skill 3): This skill is essential for Reaper Shroud as it grants you pulsing stability which allows you to use the Reaper skills with long cast times successfully. You can cast the followup skill Terrify for a fear

Soul Spiral (Skill 4): Your “spin to win” skill; it does really good damage

Executioner’s Scythe (Skill 5): This skill stuns a target and leaves behind a field of ice which is great because other surrounding enemies are chilled

Executioner’s Scythe into Soul Spiral is a great combo to land. Popping Infused Terror, for the pulsing stability, gives you a greater chance of completing both skills since you can be interrupted. After Soul Spiral there’s enough time to use Terrify for the fear.

The Reaper specialization line mostly compliments Reaper Shroud. You can use your other two specialization lines for a primary purpose and have Reaper Shroud as your secondary purpose or you can focus most of your traits on your Shroud for your primary source of damage.

To conclude, Reaper is an amazingly fun specialization and Necromancers finally have some good consistent damage with Reaper Shroud and greatsword. All I think is needed is the removal of cast time on the utility shouts (or reduce the times to a shorter cast time) and the elite specialization would be in great shape.

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!

Necromancer Specialization Thoughts: Death Magic And Reaper

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Seasons don’t fear the Reaper, but you will. If they get close to you, you will. Necromancer time! I think Necromancer is the most difficult class to play because they have the weakest damage output out of all the professions (condition damage debatable). However, Reaper changes all of that. Reaper is the elite specialization for Necromancers! First let’s take a look at the core specialization that Necromancers will have.

Necromancer Core Specialization

Spite‘s minors focuses on health thresholds and are easier to use. Death Shiver is interesting as it applies Vulnerability to enemies near you while in Death Shroud. Signet Mastery could be decent as it grants might when you use a signet, reduces signet cooldown and casts Signet of the Locust (steals health from nearby foes) when hit at a certain threshold.

Curses is the condition and crit line. Barbed Precision minor is pretty good as it has a chance to cause bleeding on crits and bleeds last longer. Can work really well with main hand Axe. Parasitic Contagion is pretty nice as it heals you for a good percent of you condition damage. Terror is the fear cause damage trait and also causes more damage when an enemy has a condition.

Death Magic line is the minions and toughness line. The Beyond the Veil minor grants you and your minions protection which could prove to be useful. Deadly Strength grants power based on toughness and doubles when in Death Shroud. Death Nova makes minions explode into a poison cloud. Necromantic Corruption makes minions do more damage and takes conditions from you and applies those conditions to an enemy (on an interval) when they hit them.

Blood Magic is the health line. Quickening Thirst now needs only one dagger to gain the movement speed bonus and recharges skills faster above a certain threshold. Vampiric Rituals reduced the cooldown of wells, allow wells to siphon health per pulse and applies protection to allies on cast.

Soul Reaping is your life force line. Vital Persistence reduces the drain on Life Force while in death shroud and reduces the cooldown on death shroud skills. Master of Terror inflicts a longer fear and fears enemies when downed. Foot in the Grave grants stability and stun breaks when you enter death shroud. Dhuumfire allows life blast to cause burning on your target.

Necromancer I felt stayed mostly the same but had their traits sorted out to make more meaningful builds. I do like the quality of life changes to Death Shroud such as providing a heal to allies when entering Death Shroud instead of granting the heal when leaving Death Shroud. Death Magic seems to allow more room with Minion builds and Curses I can see more crit builds coming out.

Reaper Elite Specialization

So Robert Gee came back and delivered an article on the Necromancer Elite Specialization: Reaper. So what does this spec have to offer? Apparently a lot of chill, menacing greatsword skills, Reaper Shroud and damaging shouts.

So, the Reaper has just raw damage output with greatsword. The greatsword has slow cleaving attacks that do a lot of damage and some multiple hits skills on enemies. One of the skills, Gravedigger is a slow attack with a high cooldown but has reduced cooldown when hitting enemies under 50%. Now, add chill to this setup. Two minor traits to aid the Reaper in it’s onslaught are Shivers of Dread which inflicts chill on your feared enemies and Cold Shoulder that increases the duration of chill. Now, add shouts to the mix. Damaging shouts at that. For example, Rise! is a shout that damages enemies and summons a Jagged Horror for each enemy hit.

Reaper’s Shroud seems really cool as it’s the augmented Death Shroud more fit for a melee Necromancer. For example, Death’s Charge replaces Dark Path. Both allow you to close the gap on opponents but Death’s Charge is a charge that damages enemies in your path.

Now, despite how good this is, this makes me wonder how normal Necromancers (that prefer casting more) can use the trait line and shouts to their advantage. So far I can see a viable Minion Master build with the Rise! shout and the core specializations. I’m highly convinced that Reaper will be a great melee class that requires some skill with the slow cleaving attacks. We’ll find out more on Points of Interest tomorrow on May 15th at noon Pacific .