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Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns – First Post-Launch Legendary Weapons Revealed!

Astralaria-side

Aww yea! We finally get to see some new legendaries and learn how we can make them!

HoT Post-Launch Legendaries!

First let’s talk about the ones littered in the blog post released by Linsey Murdock today. It takes a good amount of work to create these legendaries; so rather than rush them for launch they will be released in iterations. There will be sixteen new Heart of Thorns legendaries added to the game over time but at launch there will be three. The new legendaries will become available shortly after launch, alongside raids. These legendaries are called:

  • Astralaria – Legendary Axe
  • Nevermore – Legendary Staff
  • H.O.P.E. – Legendary Pistol

You can check out some images in the gallery below. Some of you may have seen glimpses of Astralaria on the internet but that is a nice weapon. It gives off that celestial time and space vibe quite nicely. Very suitable for a Druid in Celestial Avatar form if I do say so myself. Glimpses of H.O.P.E. have been around the net as well. We can clearly see that it has an electric energy vibe to it. Very fitting to pair with Bolt for all you Thieves and Mesmers out there. Finally, we have the Raven Staff Nevermore. This is definitely in theme with Halloween as it has a Raven perched on the top of the staff when stowed. When wielded, it pulsed an ominous light blue glow in the shape of a Raven’s wing and head. Norns (that pray to Raven) and Necromancers in particular, this Staff has your name written all over it.

How Do We Make HoT Legendaries?

These legendaries are cool but how do we make them? Beyond precursor crafting, which is the only way to get a HoT precursor, there will be new items to swap in to the standard legendary receipe:

Gift of Maguuma Mastery – This gift is similar to the Gift of Mastery. You won’t require a Bloodstone Shard to make it but you’ll need to explore all of Heart of Thorns areas and need get the specified HoT materials needed to build this gift. This means you’ll need to save up on map currencies, visit every part of every HoT zone and complete all the Heart of Maguuma masteries.

Mystic Tribute – A newer version of the Gift of Fortune. You’ll need to collect trophies and mystic objects to create this gift. Trophies can be acquired from the trading post and from the map bonuses system in Central Tyria where you can perform events in a map area to gain it’s map specified rewards. Check the map section of my precursor crafting post for more.

Unique Gift associated with Legendary Weapon – This you could have seen coming. Every legendary requires a unique gift like this to be made. You’ll still need Icy Runestones and a Gift made from various materials (I assume Gift of Metal or Gift of Wood). You’ll need a specific gift that mirrors the gift you create via dungeon gifts; this specific gift will be obtainable for HoT legendaries by a large collection achievement that’s unlocked after you complete the collections and receipes associated with crafting your precursor weapon. This large 4th collection will take roughly the amount of time to complete the 3 precursor collections. You’ll also have to make a Gift of the Mists. This Gift is comprised of 3 things:

  • Gift of Battle – Purchased with Badges of Honor in WvW; earn badges by participating in WvW activities
  • Gift of Glory – Purchased with Shards of Glory in sPvP; Shards come from PvP reward tracks
  • Gift of War – Purchased with Memories of Battle in WvW; earn memories by participating in WvW activities

I can’t wait to get started making these legendaries. For me, Nevermore is up first!

Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 3 Thoughts: The Druid

druid-astral

Last one to cover folks! Let’s talk about Druid from the 3rd beta weekend event for Heart of Thorns. As you probably know, this elite specialization features a lot of healing. Like, a lot of healing.

Staff

I thought the staff was quite good. You’re able to stay at 1200 range doing constant poke while providing some heals, some crowd control and a reflect. What’s really good about the staff is that it also provides a skill so that a druid can reposition to a better location.

Solar Beam – Fire a beam of light to a target that heals allies in it’s path. This auto attack skill is pretty nice and simple. The heals that allies are hit with aren’t ground breaking, around 100 hp. But it’s cumulative heals makes it decent enough to mitigate some (low stack) condition damage.

Astral Wisp – Send a wisp to circle an enemy. The wisp heals allies it comes into contact with. Again, like solar beam, this skill mitigates damage but more so for your melee allies.

Ancestral Grace – Become a wisp and travel to a target location, healing any allies in the area. This skill is pretty god like. To reposition to a different spot 1200 range from where you are is so good. This skill also acts as a blast which could be useful if you plan to engage shortly afterwards on an ally’s fire field. I had quite a bit of fun with this but I noticed when traveling less than 1200 range to a target location to stay as a wisp at the target location for a notable second before transforming back which is probably a bug and could be a problem if not fixed due to giving enemies time to react.

Vine Surge – Send vines forth that cripples and immobilizes allies while cleansing movement impairing conditions from allies. Solid utility that can be used from 1200 range. It is a bit of a telegraphed move since vines travel up to 1200 range from the Druid’s location. However to help cleanse movement conditions is pretty helpful.

Sublime Conversion – Summon a wall of energy that heals nearby allies when hit by projectiles. With 1200 range it does make sense that the staff has a way to deal with projectiles. And the projectiles provides healing to nearby allies which is great.

Overall, staff is a decent support weapon from a heal and utility point of view. Not super strong but has noticeable assets.

Glyphs

The Druid glyphs and their celestial functionality are an interesting thing to learn. Quite honestly it took me a while to get use to the mechanic.

Glyph of Rejuvenation (Heal) – Heal yourself and give a minor heal to nearby allies. Celestial: Use the minor heal on yourself and your base heal to nearby allies. This is a fairly strong heal that supports nearby allies even if you’re not in celestial form.

Glyph of Alignment – Damage and apply conditions to foes. Celestial: Heal and cleanse conditions from nearby allies. This glyph is probably best used in melee where you can jump in a fight and damage foes. Of course it’s great with Celestial Form since you’re cleansing conditions.

Glyph of Equality – Daze nearby foes. Celestial: Break stun nearby allies. A good way to temporarily stop incoming damage from multiple sources or to stop AoE stuns (which Scrapper is exceptionally good at).

Glyph of the Tides – Push nearby enemies away from you. Celestial: pull nearby allies towards you. Good from controlling an area. Especially good in PvP for stopping stomps no matter which form you’re in.

Glyph of Empowerment – Increase outgoing damage of nearby allies. Celestial: Increase outgoing healing of nearby allies. Pretty simple: use it when you want to do a lot a damage and when you want to do a lot of healing. This feels more of a raid type of skill since you’ll be more coordinated but the damage one can be very useful in PvP.

Glyph of Unity (Elite) – Tether to nearby foes. When you take damage, deal damage to tethered foes. Celestial: Tether to allies, when you are healed, heal tethered allies. Pretty fantastic in order to share the pain you’re feeling or to easily heal up allies by burst healing yourself after tethering. There is a visual bug where you can’t see the tether at times. Also I think the tether should be more visible for big fight scenarios.

Celestial Avatar

This form does only healing and crowd control.

Cosmic Ray – Call down a beam that heals allies in a target area. This skill is very spammable. Plus you’re doing 800-900 health with each beam. I really like it.

Seed of Life – Summon a seed that heals and removes conditions from allies when it blooms. Pretty simple but it may be hard to tell who needs it in big fights for the condition cleanse. I would place the seeds mostly in a centralized area of damage.

Lunar Impact – Call down a large beam that heals allies and dazes foes. This is an amazing skill locking up enemies, forcing stun breakers out, or stopping stomps.

Rejuvenating Tides – Gather tidal force to rapidly heal nearby allies. Using this skill with Cosmic Ray makes for great nearby healing.

Natural Convergence – Channel pulsing cripple and slow around you. After the channel, immobilize nearby foes. This is a strong crowd control that really pays off when completed in order to lock foes down in an area. The cripple and slow does help when chasing enemies as well.

Using this form is fun for providing people diving enemies heals. What I did is that I threw out the first 3 skills as much as possible in a focused area, the first skill on allies I thought needed it the most. I used the last 2 skills when enemies got close, chasing someone or providing AoE support around me.

I’ve talked a lot about the Druid skills but not a lot about the healing power scaling of the druid’s healing skills where Celestial Form makes more visible to note. I used Cleric armor, which is heal based, and it didn’t make much of a notable difference over going say, Berserker. I heard that the devs are working on making healing power matter for the Druid’s healing skills which is good and, quite honestly, makes sense.

Traits

Now let’s talk traits. The traits are great to augment healing, your celestial form and some damage mitigation. Druidic Clarity is really strong for an adept; it pretty much removes all conditions on you when entering Celestial Avatar form. You can get condi-bombed and just shrug it off. Cultivated Synergy is really good to support your pet more; all heals you use heal allies around you an your pet. Natural Stride is glorious; it boosts your movement speed by 33% as long as you’re not under movement impairing conditions. That’s big, especially in PvP; mobility between capture points is always an asset. Verdant Etching is a trait you can use to have a ton of condition clearing with glyph activations. Grace of the Land is a solid trait to mitigate condition damage as it reduces said damage when in Celestial Avatar form.

To conclude. Druid is a master of healing. It’s a pretty straightforward elite specialization but good Druids will utilize their glyphs and condition cleanse in a highly effective manor. Depending on how much healing power scales with the healing skills, I maybe able to run a damage oriented Druid or even a tank oriented Druid that can focus on keeping people alive and locking down foes. We’ll see how much group healing will be a factor for raids and other content at launch.

Heart of Thorns: Detailed Beta Weekend Event 3 Thoughts On Daredevil

dd-vault

Greetings everyone! In this post, I’m going to talk about Daredevil changes in Beta Weekend Event 3 (BWE3) and what I think was good and what I think needs to get updated or changed for launch (or after launch). Note that animations are a big deal and the devs already stated that they’re working on them so we won’t get into those details. So overall, Daredevil feels way better than last BWE. I’ll try to incorporate post-beta patch notes along the way. Here’s my take after testing the changes:

Staff

Staff Strike (Skill 1) – Feels better damage wise

Weakening Charge (Skill 2) – Feels waaaay better to use. Being a targeted skill makes it a bit spammable (don’t waste all your initiative on it) without charging away from your target. You can even use it to break away by simply un-targeting the enemy. The post beta notes signal they’re talking about making this skill have an additional role like extra conditions when you apply condition or receive less damage from weakened foes. I am all for the damage reduction. It’s what Daredevils really need; I don’t need more damage. But feel free to add that as well, I won’t complain.

Debilitating Arc (Skill 3) – At first I thought this skill needed a slightly faster animation to telegraph evade properly due to striking then evading but I think it’ll be fine with practice.

Dust Strike (Skill 4) – The cast time is way better but it still needs a smoke field or a dark field. The reason for this is that the staff is sorely lacking in the utility department. With a field, players can combo with it to blind with Weakening Charge and stealth or leech health with Vault or Bound dodge. I think staff would have a much better presence. I personally would go for a smoke field for the stealth since Daredevil still needs reprieves due to the thief’s innate sustain issues. Also, you can access the stealth attack, Hook strike, much more easily.

Vault (Skill 5) – Feels better but I think the cast time needs to be shaved down a bit more (maybe 1/4 or 1/2 a second off) and it really needs an evade. Also, the distance traveled is shorter than stated (60o) but was fixed post-BWE3.

Overall, staff is good damage-wise but is not good for competitive due to the lack of utility. I think the devs are looking into giving staff more utility and by proxy damage mitigation which is great.

Physical Skills

bandits

Channeled Vigor (Heal) – Can’t really say since the 3/4 channel change isn’t in. I think, when it’s finally in, it’ll be great and can compete with Withdraw. Heck, it might help a bit with thief’s sustain problems.

Bandit’s Defense (Utility) – Still good even with the increased cooldown but the duration needs a slight increase. Also, this skill really, really needs a flip over for the kick followup; the kick needs to be optional. You can get caught out and die being locked in the kick animation like that.

Distracting Daggers (Utility) – Equip time & velocity is fantastic now but I personally still won’t use it due to the internal cooldown for the next dagger use. I feel I should be able to freely use the 3 daggers once I equip them.

Fist Flurry (Utility) – I like the skill and the idea of this skill rewarding you for landing all the hits for the flip over but I still think it’s too situational for decent reliable use. The cast time was reduce by 20% so the last hit gets in prior to 1 second so it might be worth checking out again.

Impairing Daggers (Utility) – Had no problem with it in BWE2, no problem with it now.

Impact Strike (Elite) – No problem with it but I do think that if you land the damage on an enemy you should be able to continue the chain. I read somewhere that stability stopped the chain so that might be a bug. I’ve seen people complain about not being able to hit this skill due to being CCed or something like that. Well it kind of makes sense. This is a very powerful elite, you can’t expect to drop 7-9k on someone and stomp them within 3 seconds and not have some kind of counter.

Traits

dd-traits

Evasive Empowerment – I thought it was just me that thought 2s on this was short. I guess not as I’ve heard quite a bit from other thieves about this trait. Well it doesn’t really matter since this trait was recently turned into Havoc Master. This grants 7% additional damage to enemies within 360 range which is a solid reliable melee damage boost.

Escapist’s Absolution – Right now, most if not all, thief mains take this trait due to being the only condition cleanse option without giving up a lot. The other master traits aren’t an option to take due to this. Right now the devs are looking to give Daredevil some damage mitigation which would greatly help. If enough damage mitigation is added, Daredevils could opt for something else in the master tier. If so, the talk on the forums of making this trait a minor would die down. Right now, I’d like it to be a minor to due the lack of good trait options of dealing with conditions without giving up something really valuable.

Bounding Dodger (Damage Dodge) – Couldn’t really test this outside of dodge distance and damage. I think this was getting a fix from a blast to a leap finish if I recall? Also the dodge distance is the exact same distance to a dodge (I’ve personally checked) but feels a little short probably due to the animation. Bound dodge got updated post BWE3 to additionally grant 10% bonus physical damage for 4 seconds after dodging.

Unhindered Combatant (Dash Dodge) – Fantastic, provides a lot and is very good for kiting with dual pistols. Dash dodge got updated post BWE3 to additionally grant 10% reduced physical & condition damage (it didn’t say in the notes but you can safely assume it for 4 seconds after dodging).

Lotus Training (Condi Dodge) – Maybe due to the animation but I felt the dodge distance was a little short (similar to Bounding Dodger). It is the exact same distance as a dodge though (I’ve personally checked). Lotus dodge got updated post BWE3 to additionally grant 10% bonus condition damage for 4 seconds after dodging.

All these buffs to the dodges make me happy. There’s been talk from thief mains for a while now wanting the dodges as a selectable option in the Function bar (F3) therefore not making them Grandmaster traits; this would mean thieves would get three new Grandmaster traits to work with. The reasoning behind wanting this is because Daredevil doesn’t openly show a big difference in the combat UI like the other elite specs. This was one of the reasons I wanted this but also because the new Grandmaster traits could have helped with damage mitigation and sustain in general which the thief profession has problems with now. These buffs to the dodges show to me that the devs have no intention of separating the dodges as the Grandmaster traits. Before the buffs, maybe. Now it’d be way too strong to have these new dodges in addition to new Grandmaster traits. However, I can see from the post-BWE3 changes that the devs are working on improving the sustain issues. If that works out, I can live with what is currently available.

Combining trait lines together with Daredevil I didn’t notice a significant difference with Daredevil and Acrobatics together. Maybe in a kiting build it’s more effective to see results. Deadly Arts, Critical Strikes and Trickery are good options to go with Daredevil. I read somewhere that Improvisation from the Deadly Arts line wasn’t working with Physical Skills though (possible bug?). The best combination I personally found was best was Deadly Arts, Trickery and Daredevil. This setup overall allows you to quickly spec to a different one (damage to conditions to kiting) and provide good damage options, steal upgrades and dodge mechanics.

To Conclude

Glamour

Daredevil does open the door to more viable builds. Dual pistol with Dash dodge makes you a kiting machine but can still get smacked up and will need something like dagger/pistol or shortbow for escapes; that’s the trade off for range and kiting. Double dagger with Lotus Training dodge makes for a great condition build; there’s a small window where you’re not dodging which you’ll probably have to spend in stealth. Damage build wise, Sword/Dagger and Sword/Pistol with Bound Dodger seems to be the way to go. The main problems with Daredevil are staff utility and sustain in fights.

At the very least I’d like:

  • Dust Strike to get a smoke field on staff; I honestly think that’d make it more viable
  • Vault evade frame
  • Bandit’s Defense gets a flip over for the knock down kick
  • Impact Strike chain to continue if you land the damage (if the bug I mentioned above does exists)

Alright well, that’s all for me. I highly doubt all the suggestions I made will go in; I am optimistic that the four points I mentioned above having a good chance. I won’t talk much about Daredevil changes after this because HoT will have launched! Hopefully the devs address the big issues in time. Also, I hope I find that PvP Staff Daredevil build that works for me. Thanks for reading and I’ll be flipping, dashing and dodging around you at launch!

Ranger Elite Specialization Thoughts: The Druid

druid

This is folks; the last elite specialization! Game Designer Irenio Calmon-Huang and Rubi Bayer showcased the Druid live from Twitchcon! Let’s explore what it can do; I’ll tell you right now, there is a ton of healing. There’s a video of the Druid stream at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in watching it.

Ranged Staff

ranger-staff

So the staff is focus on positional support and has quite a bit of healing involved:

Solar Beam (Staff 1) – Fire a beam of light at a foe healing allies in it’s path

Astral Wisp (Staff 2) – Attach a wisp to your foe doing damage. This wisp circles the foe healing allies it connects with

Ancestral Grace (Staff 3) – Become a wisp and traverse to a target location healing nearby allies on arrival

Vine Surge (Staff 4) – Send vines forth immobilizing enemies and removing immobilizing effects on allies

Sublime Conversion (Staff 5) – Summon an energy barrier that causes enemy projectiles to heal on impact

Everything, and I mean everything, on staff works well. Staff 1-4 is 1200 range so you can always be effective even when re positioning. I see the traditional backline support coming into effect but there’s also room for aggressive movements with staff 4, 2 then 3 into Greatsword.

Celestial Avatar

druid-astral

We got to talk about the Celestial Avatar. Healing and attacking will help you gather the astral force needed to get into this mode; healing is more effective for this. When triggered you look like you’re part of an astral plane. If you have the “Closer to the Stars” title, equip it on your Druid because it is the most fitting.

Celestial Transform is F5; when triggered, this form changes your weapon skills and augments your druid utility skills (which we’ll cover next). The Celestial skills are:

Cosmic Ray (Skill 1) – Call down energy from above to heal allies in a target area.

Seed of Life (Skill 2) – Summon a seed that heals cleanses (2) conditions on nearby allies

Lunar Impact (Skill 3) – Calls down a lunar beam that heals allies and dazes foes

Tidal Surge (Skill 4) – Gather tidal force to rapidly heal allies

Natural Convergence (Skill 5) – Channel AoE pulsing cripple and slow. when the channel ends, immobilize nearby foes

As you can see, a ton of healing with some condition cleanse and a great crowd control skill to boot. This Avatar form’s skills is all about keeping people alive. Cosmic Ray looks very spammable providing pretty decent heals each time.

Glyphs

druid-aoe

Druids will be getting glyphs which have been reserved for Elementalists until now. These glyphs have a reversed effect when in celestial avatar form:

Glyph of Rejuvenation (Heal) – Heal yourself and a minor heal to nearby allies. Celestial: Reverses the heal so the minor heal is applied to yourself and nearby allies get your heal (which is significantly stronger).

Glyph of Alignment (Utility) – Damage and apply conditions (cripple and weakness) to foes. Celestial: Heals and removes conditions from allies

Glyph of Equality (Utility) – Daze and damages nearby foes. Celestial: Stun breaks and heals nearby allies

Glyph of the Tides (Utility) – Push nearby enemies away from you. Celestial: Pulls in nearby enemies towards you

Glyph of Empowerment (Utility) – Increase outgoing damage for nearby allies. Celestial: Increases outgoing healing for nearby allies

Glyph of Unity (Elite) – Tether yourself to nearby foes. Whenever you take damage, deal damage to foes you’re tethered to. Celestial: Tether to allies. When you heal, all tethered allies are healed

I really like the reverse effect on these glyphs when in celestial form. It’s also really easy to remember when you understand what your glyph does.

Traits

druid-traits

These are the traits Druid will have:

Celestial Being (Minor) – Allow you access to staff, glyphs and celestial avatar

Live Vicariously (Minor) – When you heal an ally, you are also healed.

Natural Mender (Minor) – Increases your outgoing healing by 2% for 6s. Stacks to maximum of 10 stacks

Druidic Clarity (Adept) – Becoming a celestial avatar removes all conditions from you.

Cultivated Synergy (Adept) – Using a heal skill heal allies around you and your pet. Doubles up if you stand next to your pet.

Primal Echoes (Adept) – Reduces recharge staff skills by 20% and daze enemies around you when you swap to staff.

Celestial Shadow (Master) – When you leave Celestial form, you and your allies gain AoE superspeed and stealth.

Verdant Etching (Master) – Reduce recharge of your glyphs by 20% and everytime you activate a glyph you plant a Seed of Life.

Natural Stride (Master) – Reduce duration of movement impairing conditions by 50-66% and your movement condition is increased by 33% as long you do not have any movement impairing conditions.

Grace of the Land (Grandmaster) – When you enter Celestial Avatar form, incoming condition damage is reduced by 33% for you and your allies.

Lingering Light (Grandmaster) – Healing an ally creates a Cosmic Wisp that orbits you and healing allies it touches

Ancient Seeds (Grandmaster) – Striking a stunned, dazed, knocked down, or launched foes summon roots to entangle them for 5s (immobilize + bleed).

New Ranger Pets!

ranger-wyvern

There will be 5 new ranger pets to tame in Heart of Thorns:

Tiger – Melee. F2 unknown

Smokescale – Melee. F2 active is smokescreen that Smokescale can evade and be immune to conditions in

Bristleback – Ranged; bleed condition based. F2 active barrages a target with projectiles that cause bleeding

Electric Wyvern – Melee; F2 active is head charge that stuns and knocks up leaving behind a lighting field

Fire Wyvern – Melee; F2 active makes the wyvern take flight becoming immune and spews fire down from the air creating a pulsing fire field.

My Thoughts?

Holy Mother Of… this elite specialization is so cool! This spec really shines in the support department with all of the burst heals and immobilizing. I mean, there’s healing all over this elite spec. The staff really works as a support weapon but I can see a few tweaks for some of the skills that will probably be needed. The utilities bring great crowd control while further amplifying healing when in Celestial Avatar form.

The traits are really good providing quite a bit of damage mitigation in every tier. What I really like is that there are traits that work for a more damage oriented Druid. It’s a bit focused on the Celestial form but it could work really well when in a bind to remove conditions and to stealth out of fights.

Now, does this mean a dedicated Druid healer for raids is absolutely necessary? I’d say no since everyone has their own means of sustain that I think will be sufficient enough for raids. But I’ll definitely say having a Druid in raids will be very good for your party.

A tiny bonus is the Ranger pets were revealed for Heart of Thorns. Oh man, I don’t care if it’s not meta. I will run Wyverns as pets. Maybe one Smokescale but Wyvern will definitely be a main pet.

I’m very excited to try it out Druid in the next beta weekend event! Also, here’s a video of the full Druid stream:

Heart of Thorns Beta Weekend Event 2 Thoughts: The Daredevil

Dust-Strike

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.

Staff

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.

Physical Skills

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.

Dodge!

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.

Traits

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.