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Guild Wars 2 Final Core Specializations, Conditions & More!

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Oh man. Well, while I was covering E3 stuff all day Monday, I missed the livestream of the Guild Wars 2 Core Specialization changes and condition changes. However, I did check out the notes Competitive Events Manager Josh Davis kindly spent his time compiling and posting on the forums. The list is WAY too long to put in this post. I’ll link it here so you can view the profession(s) of your choice.

I’ve taken a general look at the changes at it seems like some professions got some really good buffs or some nerfs to one or two aspects.

The class I worry about the most is Necromancer. It seems Necromancer is the same in most aspects with the Core Specializations which could still pose a problem for the class since the class isn’t too good right now. Ranger has some really good changes in my opinion but I hear that some Rangers aren’t too happy with some of the changes. Guardians got hit boon wise. No getting around that. Engineers I feel are in a weird place of good and bad. It depends on the play style you had and how the changes affect you I guess. All the other classes feel the same or feel stronger.

I’m still covering E3 on Tuesday but I’ll try to post a deeper analysis of the profession reworks later this week.

Guild Wars 2 Combat Changes: Conditions & Movement Speed

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Game Designer Roy Cronacher has returned to share the changes to conditions and movement speed. Some you may know, some you may not have known. So let’s break it all down.

The Condition Problem Now

So the problem with conditions now: is that stacks of intensity max out at 25 which is fine for small group. However, for larger groups like boss fights, applying your stack of bleed would prove to be difficult given just a few players can easily have an upkeep of 25 stacks of bleeding leaving you not being able to do your condition damage.

Everyone Can Apply Conditions!

In order to solve the conditions problem, stack size for intensity conditions are being increased to a larger number. The new stack size hasn’t been determined yet but it should allow players to have their conditions applied in large groups such as boss fights. Condition removal will work the way it does now (it will still remove the entire stack).

Scaling

So you’re probably thinking “jeez, now condition damage will be all the rage”. Well not necessarily. With the large stacks of conditions means a downscale in the damage over time it brings. Right now, conditions are pretty good even without investing into condition damage so it’d be pretty ridiculous if ArenaNet released a larger max condition stack and didn’t scale the damage back.

Right now, the plan is to lower the base damage conditions and revise the damage formulas in order to promote building into condition damage to do better condition damage in a way that players would see a difference.

Burning, Poison, Confusion & Vulnerability

Some of you may know this but burning and poison are going to be intensity stacking conditions. Of course the damage formula for each will be fixed for this change. Also, poison will apply it’s health degen effect (-33% on healing/healing effects) on the first stack. Further stacks will apply only the damage part.

Confusion is getting a bit of a fix. Right now it can be effective versus a high attack based player but can feel useless again slow attacking bosses. In order to find a suitable middle ground, confusion is getting less damage when the enemy attacks but will have more damage over time to compensate.

Vulnerability is getting a bit of a change as well. Right now it increases direct damage to a foe (1% per stack up to 25 stacks).  In order to not leave condition damage player out, vulnerability is going to increase damage for direct and condition damage.

Movement Speed

When in combat, movement speed actually affects certain leap skills (like Savage Leap or Leap of Faith). When sped up you’d go farther with your leap skill but if chilled you’d leap less of a gap. These skills have been normalized so that any increase or decrease in speed will not affect the distance the leap skills are suppose to have.

My Thoughts

Well ArenaNet is definitely promoting the use of condition builds by providing more enticing means to have a condition based build. ArenaNet are also making damage in large scale fights have more of an effect for each player by letting everyone apply their condition damage.

Movement speed stuff I really don’t have a strong opinion on since I main thief in which I use mostly shadowsteps. I’ve seen people split on this issue. I can see why it’s good for professions with a lot of leaps like Warriors but I can see why it’s bad for professions with chills like Necromancers.

It will be interesting to see if more condition builds will come out given we’re in the Berserker meta right now. I guess we’ll have to see if a condition stat combo will be just as effective as a Berserker based build. I’m also wondering how these changes will affect sPvP. It’ll be a very interesting time.

Age’s League of Legends Season 5 Basics Guide: Part 4 – The Support

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A detailed basics guide on how to support your AD Carry in lane and your team in fights!

Hey all. Welcome to the support guide. This guide is to help you get started out with learning how to support. Now, you’re probably wondering “Why should I learn to support?”. Well I’ll break it down for you:

  1. You will eventually have to play Support – In Draft pick, it doesn’t matter if you call a role. It doesn’t matter if you’re god-like as a middle laner. If you’re last pick, you should play the role that’s needed to complete the team. 70 to 80% of the time that role is usually Support.
  2. You’ll learn how to appreciate Support players – Supports in game are the most under-appreciated players solo queue. This is mostly because they don’t get the kills and give all the minion farm to the AD Carry. However, they provide the assistance to get those kills or to engage / disengage team fights. Once you’ve played Support for a fair bit you’ll come to learn how invaluable they are for teams.

Note that I am not a pro support, just giving some general guidelines that new players need. Now, let’s get into it!

Popular Support Oriented Items

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I figure I’d start with listing some support items. Ideal boots to get are Boots of Mobility or Ionian Boots of Lucidity. From left to right, the items shown above are:

  • Sightstone & Ruby Sightstone – This is a standard item for supports. This item is used to reduce the gold sync in buying wards because it provides wards and refills when you go back to base. IMPORTANT: Only upgrade to Ruby Sightstone when you’re at max items.
  • Ancient Coin – There are 3 good passive gold gold generating items that supports can choose from. This is one of them, it also supplies mana regen. It final upgrade allows your champion and other allies around you a temporary movement speed buff which is great for engagements or disengagements.
  • Relic Shield – Another passive gold generating item. It provides health and last hits on minions when you have a charge will transfer the money you gained to the nearest ally champion. Ideally you want to last hit the melee and cannon minions because they supply more gold. It’s final upgrade has an active that allows you to shield an ally champion. A great item fro melee supports.
  • Spellthief’s Edge – A passive gold generating item which also grants gold when you hit a champion or structure (basic attack or skill). Not really used a lot on Supports but if you’re really behind, it’s worth considering. This item is great for ranged supports that harass a lot like Karma. It’s final upgrade allows you to slow and damage an enemy champion.
  • Aegis of the Legion & Locket of the Iron Solari – Useful for giving nearby ally champions magic resist and health regeneration. Locket is the upgrade of Aegs and it’s active allows you to shield nearby ally champions.
  • Mikael’s Crucible – Another item supports generally take. It gives you mana regen and magic resist and it’s active heals and removes all CC on an ally champion.
  • Morellonomicon – Sometimes you have to deal with teams that can heal a lot. This item is great for magic damage supports if you want to reduce the potency of healing enemies can do. It also gives you ability power, mana regeneration and cooldown.
  • Twin Shadows – Gives you ability power and magic resist. If you activate it, it sends 2 ghosts out for a short duration that searches for the nearest 2 champions to latch onto. If a champion is found, that champion is slowed for a short duration.

Summoner Skills

Summoner Skills that I generally use are Flash to stay safe and either Exhaust to slow an enemy or Ignite for damage if needed.

Runes And Masteries

So here are my runes and masteries that I generally use for supporting. Feel free to use this as a base in order to make your own support setup that you feel comfortable with.

My first rune page focus on defenses (x9 Armor Marks, x4 Armor Seals, x5 MR Glyphs), health (x5 HP Seals) and damage (x4 AP Glyphs, x3 AP Quints). Usually I use it for an AP ranged Support. My second rune page focus on defenses (x9 Armor Marks, x2 Armor Seals, x9 MR Glyphs, x2 Armor Quints) & health (x5 HP Seals, x2 HP per Level Seals, x1 HP Quint) and I use this page usually when I’m a melee support.

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There are two types of support masteries I generally use. The first is a 0/9/21 which focuses on gold generation and utility. I usually use this on utility ranged supports. The second is a more tanky spec (0/16/14). If you want, you can build more into the offense tree for damage if you have a caster support like Annie. If you go more damage, you might want to consider using more damage oriented runes as well (swap the quintessences out,  possibly the glyphs too).

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Protect

In the early stages of the game it is the Support’s job to protect the AD Carry they’re laning with and the Dragon. It is also your job in lane is to harass the enemy lane if they get close, let the AD Carry get all the minion farm and the kills if possible. This is done by:

  • Warding brushes, gankable areas and Dragon
  • Engaging fights with / for your AD Carry
  • Protecting / Buffing / Healing your AD Carry

In later stages of the game, your priority should be protecting Baron and getting vision in the enemy jungle by using wards. Also ward Dragon if you can. You should ward the enemy jungle if your team has taken down most of their towers in order to invade safely. You should ward your jungle if the enemy team is roaming around in your jungle. Throughout the game, it’s kinda sucks to say but you are sacrificial if a fight goes south. This is mostly because, in the general case, the other roles should be getting the kills and therefore are worth more money than you. If things get bad in a fight, you should do everything you can to make sure your teammates get away and sacrifice yourself if necessary to do so.

Warding

One of the Support’s main job is to ward the lane, objectives and other strategic locations. Note that it is not the Support’s job to ward other people’s lanes during the laning phase. Also, I always find this imperative to say all the time: the Support is NOT the only one who has to ward throughout the game.

Here’s an extra picture for Support lane wards that I think you’ll find useful. Check out my Summoner’s Rift guide for ward placement on the entire map.

Let’s break down this image a bit. First off, no, you don’t have to ward EVERY indicated area. You only get to place three wards at a time. Essentially those are the general spots where wards are placed. You can ward some of the areas indicated to keep you and your lane partner safe from ganks.

There are wards that you want down at pretty much at all times. For example. If you are on the blue team and your pushed up to the enemy tower all the time, then you would want a ward in your tri-bush (the X in the brush under the dragon pit) and the river so that the enemy jungler will not gank you from behind.  This goes for the red team as well. The tri-brush for red team would be the brush to the left of the red turret. It’s less likely you’ll get ganked from there but if you’re shoved to your turret all the time, the enemy jungler might swing by that tri bush for a dive gank. You would also want a ward in the river in order to prevent ganks from that angle and to see if the enemy is trying to get the Dragon. This will allow your team mates to react accordingly.

There are wards that you’ll need for an advantage in lane. For example, if the enemy team is using the lane brushes to keep you at bay so you AD Carry can’t farm, you could place a ward in the lane brush in order to prevent any hostile action from the enemy laners. If not, then it’s not imperative to place a ward in that brush.

Some of these warding areas you would want to use a Vision Ward on your side of the map in order to stop invisible ganks or initiations from champions like Twitch or Evelynn. You generally use these wards on your side of the jungle on in river brushes in order to either clear out the enemy wards in the area or to see invisible units that want to gank you like Evelynn. For example, you would always want to clear out wards near Dragon or clear out lane brush wards if they were preventing your lane from engaging. Speaking of Vision Wards, try to always have one vision ward in your inventory. For laning phase,  try to place them in areas you can defend like the brush on your side of the lane or the tri-brush.

Outside laning phase, you’ll want to ward where your team will go towards next (objective-wise). Try not to ward past the river alone if you’re not sure where the enemy team is; you can slowly move your vision deeper into their jungle if need be. Also, always ward at max range.

For trinkets, usually everyone starts with the Warding Trinket (yellow one) but Supports should switch to a Sweeper Trinket once they have a Sightstone. You also don’t have to buy any more sight (green) wards since you have Sightstone for a free set of wards. When you run out, just go back to base for an auto refill on your Sightstone. Sometimes you’ll see some supports start with a Sweeper trinket.

Harass

Harassing your enemies in lane can lead to a great advantage. If you are a ranged support, you don’t need to use offensive spells every time, you can also auto attack once or twice and walk back. Keep repeating this if you don’t get punished at all. Slowly whittling away at an AD Carry or Support will force them to eventually go back to base or risk getting killed.

What I like to do is let my ADC sit back and farm while I zone out the enemy AD Carry and support and harass them with auto attacks as best as I can. This prevents the AD Carry from farming. You should watch your positioning when you do this because if you go too far up, the duo bot lane will try to hurt you and then you’ll be the one forced out of lane. If you’re new to harassing as a Support, try some easier ranged supports to harrass with like Janna, Thresh, Sona or Morgana.

Dominate

In team fights, the Support can change the flow of a team fight or even the game. This is usually something like a Sona ultimate or a Thresh hook that lands well. Learning how to engage in lane and in team fights as a Support will really improve your gameplay as a whole. Also, in team fights, you are likely to get low on health. This is when you start kiting. You move around in a way that baits the enemy team to try to kill you but allows your team mates to dish out damage on the enemy team.

So those are the general guidelines on how to Support. There are variations of supporting so by all means you can use them if you find you’re good at it. Also, if you see your Support doing a good job, let them know. They get little credit most of the time and I feel they should get some credit when they’re doing well. As always, feel free to comment below if you have anything to say about the guide. Have fun on the Fields of Justice!

Thoughts On League Of Legends Season 5 Summer LCS Week 1

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New LCS Teams

The LCS is back for the summer split and for the chance to go to Worlds. But a new split means at least a new team! Coming in Europe is Origen but this team is not necessary inexperienced when it comes to LCS.  The team consists on Mithy, Soaz, xPeke, and Amazing all of whom have been in the LCS. Their ADC Niels is new to the LCS but did pretty well in his first week.

In North America is Enemy Esports and Team Dragon Knights. Not much is known about these team but they each have some LCS experienced players.

Europe Spring Week 1

Alright! So far every EU team seems to be in better shape this season. The dream team of this season is Fnatic who swapped out Steelback for Rekkles. And they did really well going 2-0. Origen is also a team that was expected to do well and playing Giants Gaming and H2K. Elements, Gambit Gaming and SK Gaming were unknowns seeing that they had some roster swapped that made them arguably weaker. Elements was able to snag a win against Gambit, bot both Gambit and SK went 0-2. I’m a bit more worried for SK in this case due to voluntarily swapping ADCs. Copenhagen Wolves and ROCCAT went 1-1 winning against SK and Gambit respectably. Both the Wolves and ROCCAT had few changes to their roster like Gambit and SK so it shows those teams can handle new members somewhat more easily. Giants Gaming may show some promise in future weeks this time around going 1-1. Unicorns of Love did well going 1-1 losing to Fnatic.

North America Spring Week 1

Alright so the end results for NA were quite interesting. We have Counter Logic Gaming and Team Liquid both with a 2-0 start. In Liquid’s case, they faced off against arguably the weakest teams and had a poor early game. We’ll see if that will get fixed up for Week 2. CLG fought against Dignitas, who in my opinion are lower mid tier, and  Team Impulse. CLG won those games quite convincingly. Surprisingly, Dignitas took a game off Cloud 9 looking way better on Day 2. Cloud 9 was able to 1-1 taking a game off TSM after waiting to get to late game Kog Maw. TSM and Gravity were able to go 1-1 as well taking a game off Enemy Esports and Team dragon Knights respectively. Team 8 and Team Dragon Knights went 0-2 in quite stompy matches.

Looking Forward To In Week 2

In Europe, I’m interested to see how H2K and Unicorns of Love will do considering their growth from last split. I also want to see if Copenhagen Wolves and ROCCAT can at least go 1-1 again this week. Gambit Gaming is a team I’m looking for to see if they can have that burst of awesome like they did last split. Origen is another team I’m looking at to see if they’ll go 2-0 this week.

In NA, I want to see if Team Liquid can fix their early game and I want to see if CLG can keep going. The main problem with both these teams is that they always have some momentum during the split but just fall flat at the end or in playoffs. I want to see some consistency with these teams. For C9, it looks like it’ll take time for them to get back into fighting form despite the win against TSM so I’ll be watching them. TSM is another team I’m watching due to mid lane being the only one to convincingly go even in lane. Team 8 is the last team I want to look out for. For some reason I see promise in this team, but they need to fix a lot in order to become a stronger team.

Thoughts On The Second Heart of Thorns Beta

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Hi guys! So I played in all three sessions of the Guild Wars 2 closed beta on May 26th. Got a few things to talk about so let’s get into it!

Mastery System UI Revamp

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So in the first beta, I had a problem with the Mastery System UI as it wasn’t intuitive on how things worked. This time around it was way better but it took time to figure out how it works. What happens is that you need to select one mastery line and “level up” once to train the next segment of the line. It is then when that segment is fully “leveled” is when you can spend Mastery points to unlock the line segment.

In short it feels like a reverse way to unlock and level something. It feels weird even to the experienced MMO player. At first I didn’t even know how to activate a line. I found the gray check box which really needs to stand out more. After, I tried to unlock a line in order to level it, only to find out the reverse is suppose to happen. To the Mastery system up, it’s fine but still has that bit of a confusion element when using it for the first time. Tooltips on how to use the UI when you open it up for the first time would greatly fix this problem. Add at least 3 so that players auto clicking through will read at least one.

More Story

Not a lot but the initial story with Laranthir expanded. We first loaded into the southwest side of a Silverwastes instance to go into the Laranthir story instance. After the boss fight I was expecting a Charrcoptor to get me to Verdant Brink. Instead I had to leave a cave and fend off Mordrem for a bit. I don’t really have much to say about this but it did introduce a bit of the day/night cycle as well as mounted enemies.

More To Explore

pve-beta2-mapSo Verdant Brink in the first beta was limited to a small region where there was an flamethrower adventure and a Charrcoptor to take you the Wyvern boss fight. Both that specific adventure and the Wyvern boss fight weren’t available. Instead the land you could explore Verdant Brink was expanded quite a lot. This beta expansion introduced more events, more areas to use gliders and mushrooms for traveling and completing events. Some of the events are really fun like gathering the Wyvern eggs required use of the glider to quickly descend to a lower area.

There was also the night cycle where an element of Silverwastes comes into play bringing in and defending supplies. It’s quite simple but feels a bit mind numbing as that’s really the only type of event going at night than compared to the variety of events during the day.

Adventures are really challenging. I’m actually really excited to spend time getting them all done because some will require a certain mastery tier being completed to get a high rating.

Overall I like the direction ArenaNet is going with PvE. I’d just like more variety of the events during nightfall. Gliding feels like a feature everyone will really enjoy. Story is too early to tell in my opinion since we only played one instance. The Mastery System UI is pretty good but again, just needs that first time tool tip or something.

If you missed out on this beta, maybe you’ll be interesting in playing the open beta for Stronghold PvP beta that will be next Tuesday!