Headstarting?

Sorry about having the late posts, as you know, I have made a move into a new apartment and got swamped with work.  This post is very scattered, so be warned.

Oh yeah, also, I am officially eating my words when I stated that Pistols are for PvE and Rifles are for PvP.  In their current state, Pistols are superior due to how clunky the Rifle is.  Right now, there are animation delays for the Rifle that really defeat the purpose of the rifle, and as such, Rifle is kinda worthless.  So lets hope that the Rifle will get a nice fix before release, or else we will have a weapon that is mostly deadweight.

 

Anyways!

 

To headstart, or not to headstart?

 

This is definitely a question I am asking myself right now.  And my reason for even asking a seemingly common sense question, is I don’t know if I want to play it 3 days earlier than everyone else.  I really don’t.  So naturally, its a battle for weighing the pros and cons of headstart in the first place.

Headstart is something very recent that MMO companies have done to help ease server overload on launch.  When MMOs first launched, they were not nearly as big as they are today.  WoW didn’t have a headstart, neither did Everquest or Ultima.  And in their peaks, these were the top MMOs of their time.  The first time I have ever heard about a headstart was from RIFT and since then, I have been hearing about it all the time.  So the concept of headstart is a fairly new one.  And the purpose makes sense, as MMOs grow in popularity, server overload is definitely a problem as a lot of people will want to play the game at launch.  So rather than creating a million servers, or having stupid large queue times.  It also allows players to do things before the massive crowd gets a chance at doing quests to help ease the questing experience.  But there are some hefty consequences of headstart.  And generally, anything that is a pro, is also a con.  So lets begin.

The first is clearly the server population.  By being in headstart, you get a chance of doing things while the rest wait and you will always be ahead of the leveling curve.  So when people are still trying to quest in the starting area, you are 2 to 3 zones ahead of them.  When RIFT had head start, there were people who had already hit max level by the time the game launched.  So this gives you plenty of time to explore and not get hung up on a single quest because everyone is tagging the mobs, thus giving you absolutely nothing in return.

However, while not having to compete with people is nice, the huge and primary flaw of headstart is that chances are (assuming you didn’t quit the game during the headstart) you are the only one able to do content, let alone end game content.  The plus of having  people around is that content, such as dungeons and raids, are always available as people are around to do them.  Most of the people that were in the headstart of RIFT quit after a week because there were not enough people to start doing the content that they were interested in doing.  And while this is indeed a problem, without people you can’t do content, it isn’t that much of a problem due to the maximum number of people required to do instanced content and the nature of Dynamic Events being scaled to the number of people there.

In Guild Wars 2, the main issue of tagging and being unable to do content due to a lack of spawns is completely eliminated.  Since you gain a full share of rewards for doing anything as long as you participate in whatever is going on based on how much you contribute.  On regular mobs, you get full amount, for a full dynamic event, killing one pirate will not yield as much reward as going on a mass murdering spree.  So, one of the pro’s of headstart isn’t even a pro.  Since you will never be forbidden from doing content based on spawn times, there is no inherent competition for quest items like there are in RIFT or SWTOR.  So really, this is not something that makes me want to play the game early, but rather, makes me want to play when the game is launched to never have a drought of players to do content.  And I am the type of player that gets bored when there are not enough players to do anything.  However, I am sure everyone in my guild is going into headstart.  So there is that, but I am also the type of player who gets to max level as fast as humanly possible.  I also like to PvP, so having players around to do that will be nice.

Avoiding Queue times is not really a pro, as you only avoid the queue times for the duration of headstart.  Good news is, when you do get into the game, you wont suffer from lag (if your computer sucks) since you will be in a further zone.  But that is also temporary as once you get into the end game where people congregate to a main city, the lag problems will resume.  So lag is inevitable, queue times are inevitable.  Also,  with the overflow system (assuming that every server isn’t packed to the max, which might be the case on launch day), queue times are essentially nonexistent.  And since queue times don’t bother me (they give me an excuse to do other things), avoiding them really isn’t much of a pro for me.

Headstart also allows for the game developers to better prepare for the inevitable server crashes that major releases are bound to have.  Diablo 3 was practically unplayable for the first few days, and that was purely based on how moronic Blizzard was when handling that game (its a single player game with multiplayer functionality, stop treating it like an MMO).  For games that are MMOs, server crashes are bound to happen.  The only way to prepare for it is to have so many servers that it is feasibly impossible to actually crash them.  But, the problem with that is you then have to close down servers to help control the spread of players.  Despite how many people are excited for GW2, there will be people who won’t like it, and that is OK.  Headstart is a means of gating people into the game by allowing a few in, see how stable the servers are, and then gradually increasing the server limits so that more can enjoy the game.  So really, headstart is like a stress test where you actually get to keep your characters.  So expect some hiccups, there are always hiccups.

The final thing is just being able to play the game early.  This is always the primary reason why people want to play headstart.  And to be honest, I don’t think I have ever played a game on release day.  Even Fallout: New Vegas, I waited a good month before actually getting to it.  With that in mind, I don’t really feel like I need to play GW2 before it comes out.  In fact, the only thing that, even remotely, makes me want to play during headstart is to play with my guild mates again.  Hell, I didn’t even get Diablo 3 the day it came out, I completely ignored it, played it and hated it.  If the game is worth it, than so should the wait.  I waited 10 years for Diablo 3, and was let down, it was a waste of a wait.

I also fall under a category of relative newcomer status when it comes to Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2.  I am not one of the Utopia waiters, I am not a Guild Wars player.  To be honest, compared to those who are, I am a bit of a hypocrite and hardly fit into the crowd.  I think the only thing I have going for me are my fat American jokes, my self demeaning humor, and freakishly long writings.  My only real connection with GW2 is my love for MMOs and the desire to see a game finally have the balls to try to change the system.  We are definitely, all of us, in a very interesting time.  Will Guild Wars 2 be a massive success, or will it be a flop?  The people in the BETA of SWTOR said it would finally kill WoW, but we saw where that went.  And while I personally believe that Guild Wars 2 will not come close to making a dent in WoW (its a free game vs a sub game, people will run both), I feel that what they are doing is making changes.  Look at the monk in WoW, it’s a class that has no auto attack and is based around the flow system that GW2 has.  Plus with a release date approximately a month after the release of GW2, it will be interesting to see how people will compare the monk to the combat style of GW2.

Nothing about headstart makes me want to play the game sooner.  And this might be because I never really got a chance to play in any of the Beta events.  I have also, never been the type to need to see or do things the day they come out.  So the experience is not a driving force for myself to play or do anything.  It’s the social aspect that makes me love MMOs, and its that social aspect, that experience with those who I call friends and allies, that makes the entire thing worthwhile.  Because of that, I will do my absolute best to be in some of the headstart (I can’t guarantee anything with my work schedule).

Its almost been a whole year since this blog was launched with the ambitious 3,000 word post on the guild system, we have a release date and 3 very successful beta events.  Yet, the only thing we can do is have the hope that Arena Net will deliver on their promises.  We all saw what a flop SWTOR was, lets just hope the game that we have waited for, despite for how long, will be everything we have ever hoped for.  I can’t help but be skeptical about this game.  I have been let down so many times in the past, and to be completely honest, the last game I ever played in recent years and been completely satisfied with, was Pokemon Black and White.  A sad truth in the matter, I started RIFT up last year, loved it, and to an extent still do.  But there are still things in that game that bother me.  Even playing it now, I find many little nuances that really irk me.  So maybe all those dissatisfactions are holding my excitement back.  All we have is hope.  Beta, IS, after all, an incomplete product.  So we will see a month after release if GW2 will hold its own.

So what are you opinions, are you going to be in the headstart?  Are you just as skeptical as I am with being as burned by past failures?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

BWE3 Engineer Skills

All skills at level 80 PvP Character
From the BWE3 7/20-7/22
LEGEND
Skill Name
Skill Requirement (Toolbelt)
Description
Statistics of skills
Because kits change your weapon skills, they will look like this
Kit Name
Kit Description
Kit Skill 1
Kit Skill 1 description
Skill 1 stats

Traits work differently, you have 3 Minors where you have no choice but to get them, and then you have 3 choice slots with a lot of different options.
Trait Tree
Rank
Trait Name
Trait Description
Passive traits are stats you gain for placing trait points into the various trees.
Mine Kit’s skills change based on if the mine is deployed or not. All 5 skills throw out a land mine, but once it is out, it turns into detonate, allowing you to detonate your mines.

ALL STATS ARE WITHOUT ANY TRAITS ACTIVE

Pistol
Main Hand
Explosive Shot
Fires a shot that explodes on impact, bleeding nearby foes.
Damage: 251
Bleed (4s) -182 Damage over time

Radius: 120
Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)
Range: 900

Poison Dart Volley
Fire a volley of darts that poison foes.
Cooldown 10s
Damage: 251
Poison (2s) 180 Damage, -33% Reduced Healing
Number of Darts: 5
Range: 900

Static Shot
Discharge a lightning shot that bounces Blind and Confusion to multiple enemies.
Cooldown 15s
Damage: 251
Blindness (3s) Next outgoing attack misses
Confusion (3s) 70Damage on Skill Use
Maximum Targets: 4
Range: 900

Off Hand

Blow Torch
Unleash flames from your pistol to burn foes. Deal more damage the closer you are to your enemy.
Cooldown 15s
Damage at 200 Distance: 621
Damage at 600 Distance: 207
Burning at 200 Distance(2s): 2,054 Damage
Burning at 600 Diastance(2s): 685 Damage
Range: 600

Glue Shot
Coat the target area with a glue puddle that immobilizes foes on impact, then cripples enemies that remain within the puddle’s radius.
Cooldown 30s
Immobilize (1s): Unable to move
Cripple (1s): -50% Movement Speed
Glue puddle duration: 6s
Radius: 240
Range: 700

Rifle
Hip Shot
Deliver a quick rifle shot from the hip that pierces targets.
Damage: 407
Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)
Range: 1,000

Net Shot
Immobilize foes with a net shot.
Cooldown 10s
Immobilize (2s) unable to move
Range: 1,000

Blunderbuss
Fire a cloud of shrapnel that causes more damage the closer you are to your foe.
Cooldown 10s
Damage at 100 Distance: 1,002
Damage at 400 Distance: 626
Bleeding at 100 Distance(4s): 726 Damage
Bleeding at 400 Distance(4s): 182 Damage
Range: 400

Overcharged Shot
Fire a blast so strong it launches your foe as you fall backward, removes immobilize, cripple, and chilled.
Cooldown 20s
Damage: 626
Enemy launch distance 450
Self knockback distance 300
Range: 400

Jump Shot
Blast the ground, damaging nearby foes and leaping to your target.
Cooldown 20s
Leap Damage: 564
Landing damage: 1,128
Radius: 120
Combo Finisher: Leap
Range: 700

Shield
Magnetic Field
Create a magnetic field that reflects projectiles and can be released to push back foes.
Cooldown 30s
Duration: 3 seconds
Knockback: 300

Static Shield
Electrify your shield, preparing to throw it at foes. If you are hit, the shield discharges, stunning your attacker.
Cooldown 40s
Stun: 2 seconds
Block Duration: 2 seconds

Harpoon Gun
Homing Torpedo
Fire a shot that homes in on your foes.
Damage: 376
Range: 1,000

Scatter Mines
Shoot out a spread of remote-detonated mines.
Cooldown 12s
Damage: 2,631
Range: 1,000

Retreating Grapple
Retreat while firing a grappling line at your foe, then pull them toward you.
Cooldown 18s
Damage: 251
Retreat Distance: 545 Feet
Pull Distance: 600 Feet
Range: 1,000

Timed Charge
Fire a timed charge at your target, damaging nearby foes when it detonates.
Cooldown 18s
Damage: 1,096
Radius: 180

Vulnerability(10s): -150 Defense
Range: 1,000

Net Wall
Launch a deployable net wall to immobilize foes caught within.
Cooldown 25s
Immobilize (3s): Unable to move

Healing

Elixir H
Elixir: Drink Elixir H, healing yourself and randomly gaining Protection, Regeneration, or
Swiftness.
Cooldown 25s
Healing: 120
Regen (10s): +1,300 Health regen
Protection (5s): 33% damage reduction
Swiftness (10s) +33% Movement speed

Med Kit
Device Kit: Equip a kit that replaces your weapon with healing skills.
Drop Bandage(Skill slots 1,2,3)
Drop a pack of bandaged that provide a little healing.
Cooldown 15s
Healing 40

Drop Antidote
Drop a vial of antidote that removes conditions.
Range: 1
Cooldown 15s

Drop Stim Brew
Drop a bottle of stimulating liquor, granting Fury and Swiftness.
Cooldown 20s
Fury (10s): +20% Critical
Swiftness (10s): +33% Movement Speed

Healing Turret
Turret: Deploy a turret that heals you briefly, then continues to apply regeneration to you and nearby allies.
Cooldown 20s
Healing: 4,920
Regen(8s): 1,040 Heal
Healing Radius: 480
Range: 100

Utility

Rifle Turret
Turret: Build a rifle turret that shoots at foes.
Cooldown 20s
Damage: 318
Max Range: 1,000
Rate of Fire: 2 seconds

Flame Turret
Turret: Deploy a turret that burns foes.
Cooldown 40s
Damage: 127
Burning(2s): 685 Damage
Turret Attack Range: 450

Net Turret
Turret: Build a net turret that immobilizes nearby foes.
Cooldown 30s
Immobilize (3s): Unable to move
Net Range: 600
Rate of Fire: 10 seconds

Thumper Turret
Turret: Build a high-health thumper turret that damages nearby foes.
Cooldown 50s
Damage: 381
Attack range: 240
Rate of fire: 3 seconds

Rocket Turret
Turret: Build a turret that fires rockets.
Cooldown 60s
Damage: 794
Burning (3s): -1,027 Health
Rate of Fire: 4 seconds
Radius: 240

Elixir B
Elixir: Drink Elixir B, gaining Fury, Might, Retaliation and Swiftness.
Cooldown 40s
Might (30s): +35 Power, 35 Condition Damage
Fury (10s): +20% Critical
Swiftness (10s): +33% Movement Speed
Retaliation(10s): Reflect incoming damage back to its source.

Elixir U
Elixir: Drink Elixir U, gaining Quickness and a random utility buff from another profession.
Cooldown 60s
Quickness(5s) Skills and actions are twice as fast.
Haste(5s): Regenerate no endurance.
Frenzy (5s): You take 50% more damage.
Quickening Zephyr(5s): You cannot be healed.

Elixir S
Elixir: Transformation: Drink Elixir S, shrinking yourself, recovering from stun, and evading attacks.
Cooldown 60s
Duration 4s
Breaks Stun

Elixir C
Elixir: Drink Elixir C, converting all conditions into random boons.
Cooldown 60s
Duration 5s

Elixir R
Elixir: Drink Elixir R, recovering from stun and losing all conditions.
Cooldown 45s
Break Stun
Range: 40

Grenade Kit
Device Kit: Equip a kit that replaces your weapon kit with grenade skills.

Grenade
Throw a grenade that explodes.
Damage: 160
Explosion Radius: 150
Range: 1,200

Shrapnel Grenade
Throw a grenade that explodes in a hail of shrapnel, causing bleeding.
Cooldown 5s
Damage: 176
Bleeding (12s): 545 Damage
Explosion Radius: 150
Range: 1,200

Flash Grenade
Throw a grenade that explodes in a blinding flash.
Cooldown 10s
Blindness (5s): Next outgoing attack misses
Explosion Radius: 150
Range: 1,200

Freeze Grenade
Throw a grenade that chills enemies with a frigid blast.
Cooldown 15s
Damage: 160
Chilled (3s): -66% Movement speed and skill recharge rate
Explosion Radius: 240
Range: 1,200

Poison Grenade
Throw a grenade that explodes in a Poisonous Cloud.
Cooldown 15s
Poison (5s): 449 Damage, -33% reduced healing
Poison Cloud Duration: 5s
Poison Cloud Radius: 150
Combo Field: Poison
Range 1,200

Throw Mine
Throw out a remote-controlled land mine that damages, knockbacks and removes a boon from nearby foes.
Cooldown: 10s
Damage: 495
Explosion Radius: 180
Proximity Radius: 60
Knockback: 300
Range: 900
Detonate
Detonate your mine, causing damage to nearby enemies and removing a boon from them.
Damage: 494
Explosion Radius: 180
Combo Finisher: Blast

Bomb Kit
Device Kit: Equip a kit that replaces your weapon with bomb skills.

Bomb
Set a timed charge that damages nearby foes.
Damage: 502
Range 240

Fire Bomb
Set a timed charge that burns nearby foes.
Cooldown 10s
Damage: 80
Burning (1s): 343 Damage
Duration: 3 seconds
Radius: 240
Combo Field: Fire

Concussion Bomb
Set a timed charge that dazes nearby foes.
Cooldown 18s
Damage: 201
Confusion(5s): 347 Damage on Skill Use
Range 180

Smoke Bomb
Set a timed charge that creates a cloud of smoke, blinding nearby foes.
Cooldown 25s
Blindness (5s): Next outgoing attack misses
Duration: 3 seconds
Radius: 240
Combo Field: Smoke

Glue Bomb
Set a timed charge that creates a puddle of glue, immobilizing and crippling nearby foes.
Cooldown 25s
Immobilize (1s): Unable to move
Cripple(1s): -150% Movement Speed
Radius: 240
Puddle of Glue Duration: 3 seconds

Flamethrower
Weapon Kit: Arm yourself with a flamethrower that replaces your weapon skills.

Flame Jet
Spray Fire in a cone pattern while on the move, burning enemies on the final attack.
Damage: 600
Burning(1s): 343
Hits per second: 5
Range: 425

Flame Blast
Fire a napalm ball that rolls through foes and explodes.
Cooldown 6s
Damage: 301
Blast Damage: 702
Blast Radius: 240
Range: 600

Air Blast
Push back foes and projectiles with a blast of hot air.
Cooldown 15s
Knockback Distance: 400
Range: 300

Napalm
Burn foes with a wall of napalm at the target location.
Cooldown 30s
Burning per Pulse(1s): 343 Damage
Combo Field: Fire
Range: 600

Backdraft
Vent smoke from your flamethrower blinding nearby foes.
Cooldown 20
Blindness(5s): Next outgoing attack misses.
Radius: 180
Range: 180

Elixir Gun
Weapon Kit: Arm yourself with an Elixir Gun that replaces your weapon skills.

Tranquilizer Dart
Fire a dart that Bleeds and Weakens foes.
Damage: 161
Weakness (1s): -50% endurance regen, -50% Fumble
Bleeding(4s): 182 Damage
Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile
Range: 900

Elixir F
Fire a bouncing glob of Elixir F that cripples foes and grants Swiftness to you and your allies.
Cooldown 8s
Damage: 296
Cripple (3s): -50% Movement Speed
Swiftness (3s): +33% movement speed.
Range: 900

Fumigate
Spray a cone of elixir fumes, applying Posion and Vulnerability to enemies and removing conditions from allies with every strike.
Cooldown 12s
Poison (1s): 449 Damage, -165% Heal Effectiveness
Range: 450

Acid Bomb
Leap backwards, spraying an acidic elixir on the ground that damages nearby foes.
Cooldown 15s
Damage: 341
Duration: 5 seconds

Super Elixir
Elixir: Launch an elixir orb, healing nearby allies on impact and creating an area of continual healing.
Cooldown 20s
Impact Heal: 380
Pulse Heal: 140
Duration: 10 seconds
Range: 240
Combo Field: Light
Range: 900

Tool Kit
Weapon Kit: Equip a kit that gives you a variety of tools to use.

Smack
Chain: Smack your foe. Repairs turrets.
Damage: 257
Vulnerability(6s): -30 Defense
Range: 130

Whack
Chain: Whack your foes.
Damage: 257
Vulnerability(6s): -30 Defense
Range: 130

Thwack
Chain: Thwak your foes leaving them weakened.
Damage: 561
Range: 130

Box of Nails
Scatter nails that bleed and cripple foes.
Cooldown 10s
Bleeding (2s): 91 Damage
Cripple (2s): -50% Movement Speed
Radius: 240
Box of Nails Duration: 4 seconds

Pry Bar
Launch your foes with a smack of your pry bar.
Cooldown 15s
Damage: 642
Confusion(4s): 208 Damage on Skill Use
Range: 130

Gear Shield
Block incoming attacks.
Cooldown 20s

Magnet
Pull your target to you.
Cooldown 25s
Range: 600

Utility Goggles
Gadget: Break out of stun, gaining Fury and immunity to blindness.
Cooldown 40s
Fury (10s): +20% Critical Chance
Blind Immunity Duration: 10 seconds
Break Stun

Rocket Boots
Gadget: Fly backwards, damaging foes with your Rocket exhaust.
Cooldown 30s
Damage: 395
Rocket Distance: 900
Radius: 120
Break Stun
Combo Finisher: Blast

Personal Battering Ram
Gadget: Launch a target foe with a concealed ram’s head.
Cooldown 45s
Damage: 197
Blowout: 450
Range: 180

Slick Shoes
Gadget: Spray oil behind you, knocking down foes. If underwater, blind foes that enter the oil field.
Cooldown 60s
Knockdown: 2 seconds
Oil slick duration: 1 second
Blindness (5s): Next outgoing attack misses.

Elite

Supply Crate
Request a massive supply drop, complete with turrets and bandages.
Cooldown 180s
Damage: 395
Stun: 2 seconds
Radius: 240
Combo Finisher: Blast
Range: 1,200
Note: Drops 8 Healing packs, a flame turret, a net turret and a healing turret.

Elixir X
Elixir: Transformation: Drink Elixir X, becoming a rampaging brute, withering plague, or whirling tornado. Underwater, become either a withering plague or a whirlpool.
Cooldown 120s
Tornado(15s): Transformed into a tornado
Rampage(20s): Assumed the form of a massive juggernaut.

Mortar
Turret. Build a stationary mortar that you or your allies can fire.
Cooldown 120s
Mortar Duration: 120s

Launch Mortar Shot
Launch an explosive round from your mortar, damaging foes in the target area.
Cooldown 2s
Damage: 97
Range 1,400

Launch Caltrops Mortar
Launch a mortar round that spreads caltrops in the target area, Bleeding and Crippling foes who walk though.
Cooldown 12s
Cripple(2s) -50% Movement Speed
Bleeding(12s) 545 Damage
Range 1,400

Launch Elixir
Elixir: Launch a mortar round that heals allies in the target area.
Cooldown 15s
Healing: 370

Radius: 240
Range 1,400

Launch Ice Mortar
Launch a mortar round that Chills foes in the target area.
Cooldown 30s
Chilled(1s) -66% Movement Speed and Skill recharge

Damage: 48

Radius: 240
Combo Field: Ice
Range 1,400

Launch Concussion Barrage
Launch a barrage of arounds that Pushes back foes where they land.
Cooldown 30s
Damage: 485
Range 1,400

Toolbelt

Toss Elixir H
Elixir H
Elixir: Toss Elixir H, randomly granting Protection, Regeneration, or Swiftness to allies in the area.
Cooldown 30s
Protection (5s): 33% damage reduction
Vigor (10s): +100% endurance Regen
Regen (10s) 1,300 Heal
Range 900

Bandage Self
Med Kit
Bandage your wounds, healing yourself.
Cooldown 20s
Healing: 120

Healing Mist
Elixir Gun
Elixir: Vent a healing mist, granting regeneration to yourself and allies.
Cooldown 40s
Regen (10s): 1,300 Heal

Throw Wrench
Tool Kit
Boomerang your wrench in a line, striking foes each way. Repair any turrets that the wrench hits.
Cooldown 20s
Damage: 395
Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile
Range: 900

Grenade Barrage
Grenade Kit
Throw several grenades at once
Cooldown 30s
Damage: 197
Explosion Radius: 150
Number of Grenades: 6
Range 1,200

Big Ol’ Bomb
Bomb Kit
Set a timed charge with a big blast that launches nearby foes.
Cooldown 30s
Damage: 888
Blowout: 400
Combo Finisher: Blast

Mine Field
Mine Kit
Plant 5 mines around yourself.
Damage Per Mine: 276
Explosion Radius: 120
Range: 360

Launch Personal Battering Ram
Personal Battering Ram
Shoot out a ram’s head in front of you, Crippling any struck foes.
Cooldown 18s
Damage 197
Cripple(5s) -50% Movement Speed
Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile
Range: 900

Analyze
Utility Goggles
Cooldown 40s
Analyze a foe, applying Vulnerability.
Vulnerability (10s): -150 defense
Range: 1,200

Rocket Kick
Rocket Boots
Use your rocket boots to do an explosive kick that Burns enemies.
Damage: 470
Burning(5s): 1,712 Damage
Range: 300

Super Speed
Slick Shoes
Run at double speed.
Cooldown 45s
Duration: 5 seconds

Incendiary Ammo
Flamethrower
Cooldown 60s
Burn foes with your next three attacks.
Burning (3s): 1,027 Damage
Incendiary Ammo Duration: 60 seconds

Toss Elixir C
Elixir C
Elixir: Toss Elixir C, converting one condition to a random boon for all allies in the area.
Cooldown 30s
Duration: 5s
Range: 900

Toss Elixir R
Elixir R
Elixir: Toss Elixir R, removing conditions and reviving allies in the area.
Cooldown 85s
Revive Percent per Pulse: 20%
Duration: 6 seconds
Range: 1,200

Toss Elixir B
Elixir B
Elixir: Toss Elixir B randomly granting Fury, Might, Retaliation and Swiftness to allies in the area.
Cooldown 20s
Might (30s): +35 Power, 35 Condition Damage
Fury (10s): +20% Critical Chance
Swiftness (1s): +33% Movement speed

Retaliation(10s): Reflect incoming damage back to its source.
Range: 900

Toss Elixir U
Elixir U
Elixir: Toss Elixir U, creating a random spell at the target location
Cooldown 60s
Duration: 3 seconds
Range: 900

Toss Elixir S
Elixir S
Elixir: Toss Elixir S, either growing allies in the area and granting Stability, or granting them Stealth
CD 60s
Stability (6s): Ignore control effects (Stun, Knockback, Launch, Knockdown, Sink, Float, Fear, Daze).
Stealth(6s): Invisible to enemies
Range: 900

Detonate X Turret
Detonate your X turret
Cooldown is equal to the turret’s cooldown

Gun Wars, Part Duex

I recently got into a discussion on my last post regarding.  The comments of “individual play styles” and “bringing other skills to compensate for the weaknesses of the weapons” got me thinking.  Yes, in my last post I stated that in PvP, Rifles are superior than Pistols but Pistols are superior in PvE.  And my last post bypassed any other skills because it was a 1v1 comparison of the two without outside forces.  Generally speaking, outside forces skew things a bit because you generally have to take things to make up for the weaknesses of the weapons.  I play a lot of league of legends, and some champions in that game sacrifice some mechanics in favor of others.  For example, Kog’Maw is a champion who deals an immense amount of damage, but lacks any real escape mechanic that other champions normally have in their kits.  There are summoner spells there (that everyone gets) that cover this weakness, but summoner spells cannot be factored because its something everyone else has as well.  So if you take the spell flash (a short range teleport spell) that means everyone else has that same ability which doesn’t change the situation.  Yes, you have an escape, but the enemy still has a gap closer in the form of the same spell.  So yes, I can take Rocket Boots or Personal Battering Ram, and yes that does fix the lack of mobility in the pistols.  But using those along with the Rifle gives them 5 means of moving around the map rather than just 2.  Rifle still wins here.  So, since the person brought up some interesting points, now is the time to elaborate on what I stated last post.

 

Individual Play style is also one of those things where you cannot factor into any kind of theory crafting.  Because what’s fun doesn’t necessarily mean its optimal by any stretch of the imagination.  I find the flavor of rifles to be amazing, but I understand that they may not be the best.  And since theory crafting is a means of finding out what’s best, I have to remove that from the equation.  And, as I said, last post was purely a Pistol vs Rifle comparison.  Bringing in anything else would skew the entire post and it would have ended up being a full fledged novel.  I don’t want to write that and I am sure you don’t want to read that.

 

However, theory crafting is just a theory and nothing I (or anyone else for that matter) state(s) here is the law.  Just because Rifles are superior in PvP, doesn’t mean you have to use it in PvP.  If you want, you can go around, playing the game with nothing but the wrench and naked.  Nobody can stop you from doing that.  And if that is what you consider fun, then go for it.  My biggest thing is that you should never sacrifice fun for the sake of optimal playing.  The only times where that is acceptable is during professional/competitive play or when its required to do content (raids).  Anyways, lets be on the way.

 

So lets start by discussing the values of ability types in a PvP scenario (this post will mostly cover PvP).  Next post (part Drei) will focus on PvE.  When I refer to PvP, I mean structured PvP as World PvP is less dependent on your build and more on the amount and coordination you have with other players.

 

  1. Healing Reduction – 5
  2. Mobility – 4
  3. Stuns/Silences/Knock Downs – 3
  4. Snares/Roots – 2
  5. Misc CC (blinds, etc) – 1

 

This is the order of what abilities (excluding damage) take priority over others.  So, to put it in a point system, it starts off at 5 points for number 1 and going down to 1 at number 5.  So lets do the math here.

 

Rifle – 10

8 Points for 2 mobility type effects (jump shot and overcharged shot), 2 root, and +3 and – 3 points for knockdown for both you and your opponent.

 

Pistol/Pistol – 8

 

5 Points for healing reduction, 1 Point for blind, and 2 points for a snare.

 

Pistol/Shield – 9

 

5 Points for healing reduction, 1 point for blind, and 3 points for a stun.

 

Just from a weighted standpoint, Rifle wins.  I do not factor in AoE effects because you won’t always be facing multiple people.  Those situations change scenarios.  But you will always be facing at least 1 person to use any of those abilities (the exception is jump shot which can help you move around the map faster).

 

Now, the reason why this is weighted this way is that these effects are rated based on how strong they are.  The only time where things are lowered in value is when every other class has it as well.  That is why healing abilities are not factored into this list.  Damage is not put into this list because every class deals a different amount of damage (and this list is very open ended).  This list can really be applied to any PvP scenario.  So lets get on.  For engineer purposes, until we know the modifiers (as in how much of a particular stat effects the damage of abilities), we cannot fully know how to optimize damage.

 

Healing Reduction is top of the list because 1) everyone heals, and 2) the presence of other people who focus as support is lowered.  If you can lower the amount of health the target will heal for, that means you increase your effective damage.  The best way to explain this is that if the target heals for 3k, and you dealt 8k, that means your effective damage for 5k.  If they have a healing debuff on them for 50%, that means their 3k heal is instead 1.5k and your effective damage is 6.5k.  So, healing reduction improves your effective damage

 

Mobility is number 2 for a couple of reasons as well.  First is escape, second is gap closing (mostly for melee), and third is map presence/movement.  Escaping is the only thing you can do in a losing situation.  While you can snare someone, only with things that actually move you around can get you out of range for anything else they may do to you.  You can potentially (based on the ability) to get over impassible terrain, or even give you just enough space to recover or wait for team mates.  Also, if you are snared and about to die, you will die.  If you are snared and leap across the map, then chances are you just survived.  Gap closing (not so much Engineer, but anyone melee) allows you to maximize your damage, get into effective range, and allow you to stick to those pesky ranged people who will most likely try to kite you.  For engineers, gap closing means absolutely nothing except to get into the maximum damage area for blunderbuss.  For everyone else melee, this is very helpful.  Last is map presence/movement.  If you have the ability to get from point A to point B faster than anyone else, then you provide a high amount of presence.  Simply explain, map presence changes the way people play.  Back in WoW with rogues, their invisibility gave them presence, just because you couldn’t see them didn’t mean that they were not there.  Their presence of just being on the map changed the way you play.  Rather than being reckless, you had to play defensively or die.  If someone has the ability to appear right by you or move around the map faster, you have to always be on guard because you never know where they might be.  Map presence is one of those terms that is hard to explain.  Generally, anything that goes invisible, or can teleport to a given location provides the most.  Engineers mainly benefit from being able to get to different points and provide back up faster than other classes.  This gives them a presence as an Engineer can be at the central point of Kyhlo and then be at the mansion to back up a team mate in a short amount of time.  The only thing that stops this type of effect are complete shut downs like stuns.  Things that fall into this category are stealths, jumps, knock backs, pulls, teleports, and speed boosts.

 

Stuns/Silence/Knockdowns/Fears all have one thing in common, and that is preventing people from doing things.  Stuns and Knockdowns completely shut down players and Silences shut down their damage potential.  A player that cannot do anything is dead weight in a fight.  However, this gets a lower grade because there are ways to remove these types of effects (expect for knock downs and knock ups).  Engineers have 3 utility skills that remove stuns.  So if built around this (Elixir R, Elixir S, Utility Goggles), stunning you is a waste of a cooldown.

 

Snares/Roots are this low on the list because they only slow the target or keep them in place but do not stop them from using their own abilities.  However, these CCs are effective because they reduce the chance of escape and allow you to kite.

 

Miscellaneous CC do minor things that are too unpredictable to effectively use.  Blind is an awesome CC on paper, but you cannot control what attack gets missed.  Actually, blind is the only type of CC that I can think of that fits into this category in GW2.

 

While yes, Pistols have the healing reduction and a blind, dual pistols only bring a root, and shield only brings a stun.  Rifles still bring 2 forms of mobility, 1 of those allows you to move over impassible terrain, and the other doubles as an effective knockdown in a team fight scenario (so its an effective 13 point total).  So the effective rank of just pistols and rifles are

 

  1. Rifles
  2. Pistol/Shield
  3. Dual Pistols

 

That basically explains why things were rated the way they were in a PvP scenario.  The next part primarily discusses the effect of having secondary skills on the bar to further continue on to why Rifles are better for PvP.

 

This is where things get really sticky and things can change very rapidly.  As soon as you bring in outside forces to cover some of the basic weaknesses, you can either pigeon hole the weapon you want to use into a cookie cutter mold (which only exemplifies the weaknesses it already possesses), or glorify the amount of customization it has.  Rather than going over everything, im only going to go over a few amount of skills and how they apply to both weapons (seems fair to me).  Starting off with Flamethrower.  Flamethrower is by far my favorite utility skill because I love the idea of it.  That being said, the Flamethrower brings a lot to the table.  As a weapon kit, it effectively changes the way you play by replacing your weapon skills with a whole new set at the cost of a utility slot.  It brings a heft amount of damage, a wall of fire, a fireball, a pull, and a knock back.  When factored into the pistol, it gains 2 new sets of movement abilities that cover the primary weakness of the weapons.  However, when added to the rifle, you can get more distance out of your current movement abilities.  Airblast>Netshot>Overcharged Shot>Jump Shot effectively got you 400+750+700=1850 units away from the target and they are snared.  Whereas with the pistol, you only moved them 400 units away.

 

Rocket Boots are also one of my favorite skills (mostly because of the toolbelt skill associated with it).  Throw that into the mix and you have just added a way to get around the map faster and push yourself another 395 feat.

 

Slick Shoes adds a 3 second knock down.

 

Supply Crate adds a stun and a host of other things.

 

Anything that you can add to the pistol only adds more to what the rifle already brings to the table.  To effectively mask the weakness of pistols lack of mobility, you need to have both Rocket Boots and Flamethrower.  Then to break out of bad effects, you need Elixir R or Elixir S.  So suddenly, you have just pigeon holed the Pistols into a cookie cutter whereas you only added to the Rifle (to gain more distance for disengage or map movement), while only solidifying a single skill that every PvP engineer should have (Elixir S or Elixir R).  And, because the rifle already has the movement abilities built into the kit, you have more variety in your build which then in turn adds to your own versatility while adding more to the unpredictability of your character.  You literally have the entire roster of skills at your disposal and have the ability to become a damage oriented, defense oriented, or support oriented character.  Whereas, if you have pistols people will automatically know that you are there to deal damage and if you are not, then you are basically a sitting duck.

 

And anything the pistol brings can be added to the Rifle’s repertoire.  Grenade kit alone brings the blind and healing reduction.  You can get the healing reduction from Elixir Gun as well as an AoE heal.  You can pack another break stun, movement, knockback.  And assuming the formula of 1 stun break, 1 choice slot, and 1 kit/movement ability, the Rifle brings significantly more options.  Where as the pistol is limited to 1 stun break, elixir gun/flamethrower, and Rocket Boots/Personal Battering Ram.

 

Yeah, nothing is stopping you from reading this post and scoffing at it, stating that this is merely a challenge.  But when you look at the facts and logic behind everything, Rifles win this war.  Next week is the PvE edition of Gun Wars.  Stay tuned for Gun Wars Part Drei.

Future Engineer Weapons

Before reading these ideas please remember these are all my ideas nothing is from ArenaNet or confirmed in Guild Wars 2.

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted one of my wild ideas for Engineer. Before the release date was announced I decided to browse some forums and I ended up coming across some people talking about what weapons they would like to see added to current classes. The only issue I had reading these were very few of the posters went into detail they would just say “Give Ranger staves “as an example and not mention what skills they would gain. So below are a few weapons I feel fit the Engineer lose-wise and would not make us some flavor of the month overpowered profession.

Main Hand

Mace- This weapon makes the most sense because essentially the mace is a hammer the Engineer uses to construct their turrets and other gadgets. With having Mace in the main hand I feel that our Tool Kit weapon kit should be removed and have some of their skills reworked into the Mace weapon skills.

Skill 1 - Smack-Deals damage to foes or repairs turrets. No cooldown.

                      Whack- Deals damage to foes and applies Cripple or a stronger repair to turrets.

                      Thwack- Deals damage to foes and applies Weakness or applies a Overcharge charge to your turret allowing them to act as if their overcharge skill was in effect for the next 10 seconds.

Skill 2 – Magnet Pull- Pulls your Target to you and causes them to be unable to use weapon skills for 2 seconds. 15 second cooldown.

                     Magnet Push- Can only be used within 3 seconds of using Magnet Pull, but knocks your target back and applies Cripple.

Skill 3 – Throw Wrench- Boomerang your Wrench out in a line applying a random condition (Cripple, Daze, Weakness) to each foe it hits, can strike the same foe more than once. 10 second cooldown.

2 Hands

Staff- This is my personal favorite to hope for because the way I describe it, it follows the lore that it was used in the book Ghost of Ascalon. The Asuran Engineer Kranxx uses something he calls his Spark Stick and along with the glowing gems he makes reference to this is where my idea for Engineer Staff skills come from.

Skill 1 – Shock- Shock your foe with a quick bolt of electricity. This move has a higher critical damage multiplier. No cooldown

Skill 2- Flash- Blinds nearby foes for 2 seconds and deals a small amount of damage. 10 second cooldown.

Skill 3- Charge- A long cast time to store electricity. 20 second cooldown.

                     Discharge- In an instant release all stored energy stunning all nearby foes while granting nearby allies Fury and Might.

Skill 4- Extending Arm- Shoots out an extending arm that brings your for to you if hit. 15 second cooldown.

Skill 5- Tether- Throw your staff to target location and having a chain connecting both of you. While you are connected you cause any enemies to pass though the line to be knocked down for 1second. 30 second cooldown.

                      Retract-While connected you can quickly jumped yourself to the Staffs location. Any enemies you pass though will be stunned for 1 second, any allies you pass though gain Protection for 5 seconds.

Hammer- This 2 handed version of the mace focuses less on control and conditions and instead just focuses on raw damage. The Hammer can be seen almost like the melee version of our rifle.

Skill 1-Bend- A large overhead swing to bend any metal it finds beneath it. No cooldown.

                    Break- A stronger overhead swing that breaks what you were crafting!

                    Destroy!- Out of anger you use your hammers secret gadget and have it spout off a burst of flames to incinerate your target.

Skill 2- Spike Swing- Hitting a button causes spikes to pop out of your hammer. This swing will cause a moderate amount of damage while causing 3 stacks of bleeding and poison. 10 second cooldown.

Skill 3- T.N.T.- You stick your hammers handle into the ground and cower underneath the hammer’s head, exposing a large batch of T.N .T. on the top of your hammer. This skill deals a large amount of area of effect damage and knocks your foes backwards. While at the same time deals a small amount of damage to the Engineer and knocks him/her down for 1 second. 20 second cooldown.

Skill 4- Golf Swing- You swing your hammer like a gold club at the target and as you make contact with your target the hammers head explodes dealing a massive amount of burning damage and knocking your foe backwards. 20 second cooldown

Skill 5- Hop!- You place your hammers head on the ground and stand on it and propel yourself in the air and in a particular direction dealing damage only where you land, Hop! can be used twice before it goes on cooldown. 15 second cooldown.

Crossbow- the last weapon I’m going to talk about it one that is not even in the game at the moment. I saw some users post about Thief’s and Ranger’s gaining access to the crossbow and though it also belonged as part of the Engineer’s arsenal. The Engineer’s crossbow is rather un-extraordinary but instead the bolts he uses as ammo is where you see his ingenuity shines. When you activate a Bolt it causes the skill the change into a stronger skill with a longer cooldown.

Skill 1- Fire!- You shot your crossbow bolt at your target, if you have no ammo active it causes bleeding when it hits. Fire! has different outcomes based on which bolt ammo you have active.

While Explosive Bolts is active Fire! will have no cooldown and will put a stacking debuff on the target that can stack up to 5 and on the 6th shot causes all the bolts to explode at once dealing a moderate amount of area of effect damage and knocking all foes around the target to get knocked back.

While Alchemic Bolts is active it causes Fire! to have a chance to cause Poison, Weakness, Blind, or Confusion on impact.

While Rocket Bolts is active it causes Fire! to cause burning when the target is hit.

Skill 2- Explosive Bolts- You start to load explosive bolts for ammo into your crossbow. These bolts hold a small amount of explosives that does not detonate on impact. 3 second cooldown.

                        Impact- Your next 5 Fire! uses will explode on impact and cause 1 stack of bleeding. 10 second cooldown.

Skill 3- Alchemic Bolts- You start to load alchemic bolts for ammo into your crossbow. 3 second cooldown.

                       Amplified Dose- Your next use of Fire! will cause the target to be infected with a strong poison that causes them to run in fear for 2 seconds. 25 second cooldown.

Skill 4- Rocket Bolts- You start to load Rocket Bolts for ammo into your crossbow. 3 second cooldown.

                      Heat Seeking Missile- You channel your cast for 3 seconds then send out a large missile at your target. If hit this missile causes a large amount of damage. 20 second cooldown.

Skill 5- Harpoon Bolt- You load your crossbow with a harpoon bolt causing your next Fire! to chain your target to you. If your target runs out of range they are knocked down for 2 seconds. 15 second cooldown.

Well there you have it, my ideas for what weapons the Engineer should get in the future. I can not stress this enough that these are my ideas and no one else’s. This was just something fun I decided to start writing and would love to hear what feedback you have or other ideas you think I should have done instead.

Gun Wars!

Well, with big news from Arena Net talking about some of the new changes to Engineers in the next beta event, it got me thinking about Rifles versus Pistols.  Both are the only two weapons (outside of kits) that Engineers can equip.  The Rifle is a 2 handed weapon and the Pistol is a one handed with the option to dual wield or use a shield.  As it currently stands, only the pistol/shield combo lets you go all Captain America on people, so it might be worth it for that fact alone.  But onto the real debate as to which is better and why.  Essentially, I will be covering the strengths and weaknesses of both.

 

Let’s start with the rifle, undoubtably the simplest of weapons to choose from because its consistently the same and never changes.  You have 4 skills that each provide something unique to the rotation.  So lets list off the skills

 

Hip Shot

Deliver a quick rifle shot from the hip.

Damage: 140

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)

Range: 1,000

 

Net Shot

Immobilize foes with a net shot.

Cooldown 10s

Immobilize (2s) unable to move

Range: 1,000

 

Blunderbuss

Fire a cloud of shrapnel that causes more damage the closer you are to your foe.

Cooldown 10s

Within 8 feet: 560

Within 16 feet: 490

Within 24 feet: 420

Within 32 feet: 350

Range: 400

 

Overcharged Shot

Fire a blast so strong it launches your foe as you fall backward.

Cooldown 20s

Damage: 350

Enemy launch distance 450

Self knockback distance 300

Range: 400

 

Jump Shot

Blast the ground, damaging nearby foes and leaping to your target.

Cooldown 20s

Leap Damage: 420

Landing damage: 420

Blast Radius: 10 Feet

Combo Finisher: Leap

Range: 700

 

Hip shot is your basic auto attack skill, it shoots the target.  It doesn’t do anything other than that, so if you want it too, you are most likely out of luck.  Although, it can be used in conjunction with other skills (like fire wall) to produce a combo effect, which is unique among all the other skills.

 

Net Shot immobilizes foes, which rains all over melee’s parade, but really only prevents enemy escape and aids in your own escape.  This skill is always going to be invaluable in a PvP scenario because it allows you and your allies to catch up to your enemies and assists in their eventual murder.

 

Blunderbuss is the odd skill here (although it makes sense) in that it rewards you for being closer to your target.  Realistically and odd skill for any melee, but it’s not completely unheard of in games.  This basically turns your rifle into a shotgun, and shot guns hurt more the closer you are (never personally experienced a shotgun shot, but considering what it does, it makes sense).  This skill didn’t work last beta, so to be fair, I wont go any further until its fixed.

 

Overcharged Shot is a dual effect skill, knocking both you and your opponent back a total of 750 units away from each other.  However, because it also knocks you and your target down.  This is a situational skill at best.  Knocking yourself down when in the midst of a battle can do more harm to yourself than good, especially when you are outnumbered.  However, when its a 1v1 scenario, than this skill proves to be very effective.  750 units away if a very far distance, and if used correctly, can allow you to effectively disengage against any target who is out for your blood.  So this skill is situational at best and only effective in a PvP scenario, or when you are running away from a mob.

 

Jump Shot is by far, my favorite skill in the Engineer’s arsenal.  This skill hits twice, dealing damage on launch and land.  This skill also allows you to also cross over gaps, rough, and otherwise impassible terrain.  The damage isn’t negligible either.  You can use this to close the gap and get in range of a point blank blunderbuss shot.  Or, you could use it to get away.  Either way, it has a multitude of uses.

 

Now to go over the Pistol.

 

Main Hand

Explosive Shot

Fires a shot that explodes on impact, bleeding nearby foes.

Damage: 97

Area of Effect: 5 Feet

Bleed (25s) -172 Damage over time

Combo Finisher: Physical Projectile (20% chance)

Range: 900

 

Poison Dart Volley

Fire a volley of darts that poison foes.

Cooldown 10s

Damage: 80

Poison (35s) – 172 Health, -33% Reduced Healing

Number of Darts: 5

Range: 900

 

Static Shot

Discharge a lightning shot that blinds your target and confuses each subsequent foe it hits.

Cooldown 15s

Blindness (3s) Next outgoing attack misses

Confusion (3s) -72 health per skill used

Maximum Targets: 4

Range: 900

 

Off Hand

Blow Torch

Unleash flames from your pistol to burn foes.

Cooldown 18s

Damage: 68

Within 15 feet(9s): -3,006 Health

Within 30 feet(6s): -2,005 Health

Within 45 feet(3s): -1,002 Health

Range: 600

 

Glue Shot

Coat the target area with a glue puddle that immobilizes foes.

Cooldown 30s

Immobilize (1s): Unable to move

Glue puddle duration: 6s

Glue puddle radius: 20 Feet

Range: 600

 

Magnetic Field

Create a magnetic field that reflects projectiles and can be released to push back foes.

Cooldown 35s

Damage: 55

Knockback: 300

 

Static Shield

Electrify your shield, preparing to throw it at foes.  If you are hit, the shield discharges, stunning your attacker.

Cooldown 40s

Stun 3s

 

Explosive Shot is really cool because it deals AoE damage and inflicts a burn.  In fact, if you look at all the skills, the Pistol screams AoE damage.  This being one of the many skills that do this.

 

Poison Dart Volley is also a really cool skill because when joined up with Explosive Shot, the damage will start rolling.  Plus, reducing the amount of healing the target receives is honestly what makes Pistols remotely viable in a PvP scenario where movement is the most important thing.  And since everyone heals, this skill is fantastic.

 

Static Shot is very useful, but not as useful and Poison Volley.  The main problem is that Blind is tricky and next to impossible to time since you cannot force your opponent to use a particular skill and anyone with a good eye will blow the blind on a waste skill (hip shot is a good example here).  However, the Confusion aspect is what saves it.  Blind is a useful skill, yes, it can be required in a PvE scenario, but it pales in comparison to the other skills.

 

Blow Torch is a mini flamethrower, to be honest, I would rather have the flamethrower, but thats just my opinion.  However, a quick burst at close range can deal quite a bit of damage as this skill mirrors Blunderbuss.

 

Glue Shot is the movement halting effect that pistols get.  However, you have to have a secondary pistol and give up your Captain Americaing ways.  So this depends on taste and if the other two skills are worth it.  However, and AoE snare is, still, fantastic.

 

Magnetic Field is cool.  That’s really my only comment on it.  The knockback effect is nice, and I haven’t honestly tested the projectile reflection.  Assuming that during the duration, all projectiles are reflected, this skill is amazing for stalling ranged heavy teams or mobs.  So it has applications in PvP, but it is a skill without a lot of hard information on it.

 

Static Shield lets you go all Captain America on some people (this means that there needs to be a round shield with a star in the center, YOU HEAR ME ARENA NET!?!?).  Stuns are the best form of CC in any game because it completely prevents the target from doing anything.  3 seconds is all that is required to heal yourself while still continuing the flow of damage on the target.  3 seconds is also how long it takes for your whole team to burn down a single target.  So its got applications in PvP and PvE.

 

 

So here is where it gets interesting.  And my stance is that Rifles are for PvP and Pistols are for PvE.  I say this because Rifle’s lack damage, but make up for it in incredible amounts of mobility.  However, Pistols deal tremendous amounts of damage and AoE damage.  Given any kind of scenario where damage is the most important (PvE), the Pistol will win.  And since in a PvE scenario, your mobility is not as crucial as your damage output.  Even if you only use the pistol and the shield, you will still deal quite a bit of damage between explosive shot and poison volley.  Throw in the second pistol and you then are able to dish out quite a bit of single target damage as well.  Throw is a turret and a couple extra weapon kits and suddenly, you have a high damage output set up.  Rifles lack damage, but make up in utility, which doesn’t save you in a PvE situation.

 

So Pistols dominate in damage, especially in a PvE setting.  Now PvP, only Glue Shot and hoping that your target is dumb enough to run into is asking for much.  However, PvP is where the Rifle really shines.  Every single game with PvP has, and always will, center around the need for mobility.  Since the Rifle provides 3 forms of affecting mobility, this is the superior choice.  Although, you do lose out on a stun, but a single stun will not save you as much as a Overcharged Shot or a Jump Shot.  A stun wont get you up a hill, and in order to get that stun, you have to forgo your only mobility altering ability (yay alliteration!).  So if you use pistols, you get high damage, but you trade Glue Shot and damage for a Stun and more defense.  So to be honest, neither will save you from a warrior who has you pinned down.  But then again, in its current state, nothing will save you from a warrior.

 

So Rifle for PvP and Pistol for PvE.  This is a simple breakdown, and I am sure many of you can see my reasoning.  Plus, I have written about these things before, so you are always welcome to browse the achieve of doom!  Or older stuff that hardly ever gets read.  Either way, these are my opinions and until I see the new changes (especially with land mine being changed), I reserve the right to pull any of this back.  But, as it stands, Rifles win in my book.  But I am a PvPer at heart.

Mechanics

Ok, so to start off, some of you would like to know about my visit to Mexico (I guess I am that interesting?).  And, I stayed a resort the entire time and drank fruity drinks.  I was right by the beach, away from any drug wars that may or may not have been happening during my stay.  I had a lot of fun, but thats what I get for going to a resort.

 

Oh, I had a post over at Guild Wars 2 Hub where I discuss itemization and how people get them, specifically the token system versus the traditional loot pinata system.

 

http://guildwars2hub.com/features/editorials/guest-editorial-itemization-guild-wars-2

 

And I am no longer part of the GWI team, main reason being my schedule conflicted with theirs too much.  However, it is still a good news site (along with Guildmag, Guru or whatever site you go too, and if you are smart, you do not favor any site over the other) but I don’t recommend their Engineer section as it seems thin.  For example, this post:

http://www.guildwarsinsider.com/aeta-top-5-engineers-fix/

Brings up some good points, but was extremely pre-emptive and not up to date considering it came out the day before the beta weekend (something like this needs to be post, not prior as you lack the time to correctly analyze the changes/bugs).  Engineers did receive a substantial boost across the board but a few bugs ruined the experience for most (such as blunderbuss not working correctly).  I agree with the point that turrets need more tool belt integration rather than another deploy button while inactive and a detonate button while active.  This is where Arena Net can really make turrets shine and the primary component to fixing the problems with turrets.  However, the randomness of the Elixirs adds to the fun of the Engineer and really shows that Alchemy is not a perfected practice yet (if you notice, most of the engineer technology isnt really perfect).  And the utility kits are fine, we have too much of it as is.

 

Easy fix, post it later, see the changes and wait for the list to come out of all the updated skills to the Engineer.  Sometime next week, ill begin posting all the changes and reformatting the way that post works so its easy to see what changes have happened.  Also, actually test the content, nowhere in there does it discuss the problem blunderbuss has had during the beta.  Although, when you think about it, Engineers are a ranged class with an ability that rewards you for being in close.  But then again, im not a new conglomerate and only focus on one aspect of the game, so what do I know?

Cool, so lets talk about bad mechanics in MMOs.  Essentially (in case you do not know), a mechanic is term used to describe the way things work.  Mechanics are the principal component of the actual game and theory crafting.  Because without understanding how something works, you cannot begin to theorize how to optimize it.  Without understanding out it works, you cannot hope to solve the intricate puzzles that are raid bosses.  Mechanics are what dictates how much that fire you are standing in does, the area it covers, and even where it lands.  Naturally, there are good mechanics and bad ones.  Good mechanics are those that work well, provide interesting gameplay.  And there there are bad mechanics that provide useless, unfun, or otherwise irritating gameplay.  There are also basic and complex mechanics, such as not standing in the fire, or avoiding a giant windwall that circulates around the environment.

Mechanics can originate from any source in a video game.  Whether that be a player, NPC, or the environment itself.  Player abilities all work in various ways, from teleporting your character, inflicting status effects that buff or effect your other abilities, bounce from target to target, or even increase your own capabilities.  Environmental mechanics are swimming, ground based buffs like speed boosts, bounces, walls, or even weather and effects on the environment.  NPC based mechanics are generally debuffs or enrage timers, maybe even after a specific amount of time the NPC will do some kind of spell or ability that can be avoided.  You also have general mechanics that are universal to how the game functions, such as in Guild Wars, in order to use an ability, you had to be stationary, or in WoW you had to be stationary to cast spells with a cast timer (unless you had some other ability which allowed you to do otherwise), or in Guild Wars 2 where you can do anything while moving and even dodge.  Some games have zero gravity, or the inability to jump.  This is just a general overview, now for the fun part.

Bad mechanics, as stated before, are mechanics that the developers put in place for a variety of reasons.  Whether for balancing purposes or that they believe it to be fun or interesting.  However, sometimes, they believe somethings to be fun, but provide very boring experiences.  Daily quests fall into this category.  Sometimes you have mechanics that add great flavor to the game but work against core mechanics of the game.  Stationary mechanics fall into this category in Guild Wars 2.  Others are simply unfun, but things that fall under this category tend to be that way due to balancing issues, like extremely long crowd control times or the ability to be stun-locked.  While sometimes these mechanics are fun to some people, like dailies are actually fun to some people but others feel that they are a job.  Nobody likes being on the receiving end of a stun-lock, but I know that people enjoy doing it.  And not being able to jump can be one of the most irritating things in the game.

So lets delve into specifics as to why they are bad.  Every game has bad mechanics and some games do these mechanics better than others, for this reason, I will only go over 1 at a time and for each specific example that they fall under.

In my last post, I talked about how turrets fail in design in Guild Wars 2.  I still feel this way, although some new ideas were discussed as to how to fix the problem.  Turrets fall under a category of stationary mechanics in that they stay in place until destroyed, run out of time, or triggered.  Traps, Auras, Mines, and Bombs also fall under this category, but some of those make sense for balancing purposes and some of them fall in line with the turret.  Guild Wars 2 has a very specific set of core mechanics that allow players to move and constantly be able to move.  So in a game where movement is part of the very core and heavily emphasized, stationary mechanics seem pointless.  Of course, the idea only makes sense in very few circumstances such as defending, where you have the time to set up and prepare for any oncoming invasion.  However, whenever you have stationary mechanics, balancing becomes an issue.  If the stationary mechanic provides a significant source of damage, then the caster has to sacrifice his/her own damage in order to balance out, but this means that the stationary mechanic limits the character into defending.  This, in turn, limits the class in its offensive capabilities unless they utilize the mechanics, but are then limited by the fact that due to the heavy emphasis on mobility, means that you will be constantly picking up and replacing these turrets.  As such, turrets become essentially useless and more of a balancing hinderance than anything else.

I was told of one idea to fix this problem is by allowing turrets to add a “stored” buff; that while they were not deployed, that they would grant some kind of beneficial effect.  This is probably the single, most elegant, way of fixing the problem with turrets and the balancing problem they bring to the table.  Think of this scenario, if the turrets dealt a considerable amount of damage, and so did the Engineer’s skill set, then you have a class that is fantastic at attacking and ungodly in defense.  Anything that is ungodly is considered unfun to many, especially if it requires a few people to take down a single class.  So something like a passive buff could allow for the weakening of turrets or other areas while still making them viable.  The problem is, that despite this, they have to allow for turrets to not be a requirement in order to be slightly competitive.  But I will let the developers figure that one out.

Daily quests fall under many categories, but generally speaking, when you force players to grind out repetitive tasks in order to achieve a small goal, its bad design and a bad mechanic for retrieving that thing.  However, grinding can also be a means for gating content.  Such as at the end of Burning Crusade, there was the event involving the sunwell and doing those daily quests helped build up forces and unlock the dungeon.  There was a huge goal there and everyone that participated helped further along that goal.  And whenever you get the entire server in on something, its becomes extremely fun because there is something more than just doing it for yourself.  However, when it comes down to a single piece of gear that is absolutely required for you, and only you, to do some kind of content, it gets boring.  Quest chains are better forms of content gating unless the situation before is present in which the server is actively participating for the betterment of the server and for the sake of the story.  Guild Wars 2 removes dailies (although that is if you don’t count in the daily achievements) and the entire quest system in favor of the event system.  This event system brings the server together for the betterment of the server.  By doing and through continued effort in participating in these events, more of the server becomes unlocked and the server becomes a better place.  However, when the server becomes barren, the server suffers and turns into a proverbial warzone where everything is under siege.  That town you just saved is now infested with pirates, and since nobody is there to save it, it will remain under pirate control.  This type of daily is fun.  RIFT has the unique invasion system (which works the same as the event system in GW2, as in, you cannot control when or where it will happen and requires multiple people to accomplish), and those were fun, but highly repetitive because they never affected what happened to the server.  Invasions only happened for so long and and any town that is taken is retrieved because of a debuff that is put into place on the enemies that make them weaker the longer they are alive.

Mechanics of retrieval tend to be tied to gating content, and sometimes its a means of forcing players to play the game more or for a longer amount of time.  But, I have an article that talks all about that so I won’t go in any further.

Other unfun mechanics are the product of poor balancing.  Generally, if a class has the ability to one-shot you, or keep you under complete control, then there is a huge issue with that class and its balance with others.  As such, balance is completely subjective and player skill is such an outlier that achieving perfect balance is impossible.  Professional players tend to be where most game developers balance around (which is sad, considering that is generally 1% of the entire player base) because their skill levels are nearly identical.  However, there are other things to take into consideration, such as random mechanics like critical strikes, evasion, and so forth.  One of the things that made Enhancement shamans was that one proc of Windfury on a 2 handed weapon meant certain doom to anyone who got hit.  It is just how it was and nobody thought it was balanced.  But, then again, this was also pre-arena where there was no real competitive scene in WoW.  During Burning Crusade where small scale PvP was introduced, Warriors and Druids became the dominate classes, so much that there were many changes that happened during that expansion.  Warriors would still dominate as number 1, and Druids would remain mostly unchanged until the following expansion where they revamped healing.  Despite all this, on a casual level, everyone will find other classes to be over powered.  The reason why these classes were considered overpowered was due to Druids ability to shapeshift, having extreme mobility, and the ability to heal on the fly.  Warriors had Execute and Mortal Wounds, one dealt an extremely high amount of damage but could only be used when at low health, while the other reduced healing on their target.

When I played RIFT, people cried out that clerics were overpowered.  This statement was based that clerics were essentially human walls who can survive 2-3 people attacking them at the same time.  This was definitely true, clerics could do that, but all their attention was focused healing and not retaliating.  I could hold my own against several other players, but when you added in the fact that I was not doing anything but running away and healing myself, it seemed balance.  I had to trade my offense for complete defense.  Now, I could take on people 1v1 and actually come out on top, but that was heavily dependent on the amount of gear the other player had.  My cleric was based on the idea of the druid, being able to heal on the fly while providing unique buffs that reduced the amount of damage that they took.  I took mechanics that the class had available (damage reduction buffs tied to aoe heals) and abused them and essentially became immortal.  Unless focused by an entire team.

Now, these are just my own opinions on mechanics that I find to be bad by design.  I am sure that there are people out there that completely disagree with me.  So what are some examples of bad mechanics that you have encountered?  These are just a few examples of what I have encountered, and I know there are more out there because I have not personally played every game.  So share down below.

State of the Engineer BWE2

After this last beta event, its time to do a quick update on how the Engineer is doing as a whole.  And while I was not able to participate in the event, I am going on second hand sources (which everyone doing something like this should rather than going purely based on your own opinions).  This is mostly in regards to PvP, and to be honest, I don’t really care about PvE since its limited to 5 man dungeons and world events where viability isn’t really an issue.  Also, this is all completely subject to change, who knows, maybe Arena Net has a super elegant way of doing things that have nothing to do with anything I bring up in this post.  So lets hop to it.

In this event, we saw a substantial damage boost to just about every Engineer skill there is (base damage, modifiers, so on).  So we got a buff from Arena Net.  However, despite this, there is a huge concern among the community that the Engineer might need an entire rework to become remotely viable (according to the reddit AMA held before the beta event).  And this is where the Engineer stands, despite having received a huge buff, every other class currently is more viable in every possible facet.  And there are a few reasons as to why this is and why the Engineer needs a rework, especially in PvP.

The first bit is turrets.  Turrets are a wonderful idea, and on paper, can potentially be completely overpowered and bring about a flavor that you are a defender. Turrets make the Engineer feel like they are able to control any situation they are put into, but the biggest problem is that they are stationary.  The problem with stationary mechanics is that they are impossible to effectively use on the offense.  Yes, you can set up a turret mid combat, but you would in turn sacrifice valuable time dodging, attacking, or moving around to other goals.  In a PvP scenario, movement is the most important thing to take into consideration.  Always choose the ability to increase movement or regain movement over anything else.  It doesn’t matter if you have a million armor, if you can’t get away, you will die anyways.  In a PvE scenario with pulls and the like, stationary mechanics can work because you can set up between pulls, but that leads to the same problem.  Sadly, there is no real way to make turrets viable in PvP.  Most people (hopefully) are not stupid enough to walk into an area littered with turrets just to get mauled to death by tiny bullets from 15 directions.  Nor, are they going to stand next to them and wait for them to detonate.  Walking out of range of turrets is simple and most players that see this will choose to disengage or wait for backup.  Its just the nature of the way things work.  And while I personally love turrets, they just need to go.  All they are really doing is wasting space and wanting to be a real skill.

While ranger’s do have traps (which are also stationary mechanics), those traps are purely utilitarian in nature.  However, I fail to see why Engineer’s cannot take those same ability but add more interesting effects.  Like triggering the trap will explode glue on them, crap tons of shrapnel, or even a blinding trap.  Better yet, take the land mind kit and the bomb kit and mesh them together.

Utility, to put it short, the Engineer has too much of it.  To be quite frank, half of the Engineer skills are utility.  And while there is nothing wrong with that kind of thing, balancing it becomes a huge problem.  Just like my statement in earlier posts about WoW and the hybrid problem, the Engineers are already showing signs that this might be the case for the class.  Whenever you have a class that can essentially double the amount of heals of any other class in the game, remove several conditions, grant several boons, snare, have super high mobility, and a host of other things.  Something has to be sacrificed for the sake of balance.  In WoW, Shamans and Paladins (although Shamans had it worse) used to be these juggernauts of tanky DPS.  While in a raid setting, they were pretty much useless, but in PvP, they were impossible for more classes to 1v1 and nobody could beat a fully geared Shaman 1v1 (vanilla days people).  Those classes traded their damage for the ability to heal in combat, which is what made them truly terrifying.  Engineers are suffering from the same thing, except the damage is negligible because they have an entire series of skills that are effectively useless in any kind of PvP scenario where you are not defending (turrets).  However, buffing their damage too high could lead to some balance problems similar to the way Shamans and Paladins were in WoW.

The only real way to fix this kind of problem is to take away utility in order to increase their damage output.  However, the only real way to do this is to just rebuild the Engineer from scratch, but to be honest, with the game right around the corner and potentially only a single beta event left, that might not happen and we might see an Engineer that cannot compete until a rework is put in place.  However, I don’t think Arena Net will release a game with a broken class and hopefully we will see the Engineer’s in a much better spot come BWE3.  Right now, every class can heal themselves and others to a certain degree, Elementalists have the Water Attunement, Guardians are Guardians, Engineers have over 9000 elixirs and turrets that can be used twice, once on just themselves and another on whoever decides to take a flask to the face.  The elixirs are a super cool mechanics and really shows the diversity and resourcefulness of the Engineer, so keep those.

Oh, a nice fix to the whole Elixir problem (although not really a problem but it does provide them with stupid amounts of utility) is to remove the toolbelt, place the weapon packs as a means of swapping out and have the elixirs become an AoE grenade effect where you ground target and it only gets whoever’s in them (you included).  But that’s a random thought.

Also, did I mention that Blunderbuss is broken?  It doesn’t hit its targets at point blank range.  Hopefully this will be fixed next event.

The damage of other classes outmatches the Engineer significantly.  Warriors currently deal the most damage out of any other class (up to 8k in a single hit) and all the other classes are not hindered by stationary mechanics.  Every other class can maintain full DPS while remaining mobile whereas Engineers (because of Turrets) are severely limited in the amount of damage that they are capable of putting out.  This really goes right back into turrets and as long as they deal damage rather than providing purely utilitarian abilities, Engineers will have to take a hit to their damage output.  If the turrets acted more like traps (similar to the hunter in WoW) then I can see them being viable, but they cannot deal damage.  Increasing the damage on all of their rifle abilities can potentially fix the major problem that they are having right now, but the damage on pistols will have to go up even more to remain competitive with the sheer utility that the rifle brings.  Having so few weapon choices, the Engineer really needs (rifle, pistol, shield) means that those base skills have to be viable enough to keep Engineers going into it and provide enough utility to make them work better with other kits.  Between the Rifle and the Flamethrower, the Engineer has 5 skills that affect movement.  Net, dual knockback, jump, pull, push.  Packing the pistol only brings 3 but you get a blind (woo?).  And most builds will only use 1 kit along with their primary weapon (which, if you are thinking correctly will be the rifle).  Sometimes 2 can be viable (elixir kit is really cool and has a lot of really great stuff in it as well).  However, having the toolbelt be replaces with kits F1 can be actual weapon, and then F2-F4 can be whatever you choose, will open a large number of things.  Will this fix anything, not necessarily, but it will give them more options rather than filling up utility slots on things that are not turrets.

Engineers are really in a rough spot being in 8th place.  And while I would never want to see them being the top class (because being OP, FOTM, whatever you want to say) isn’t as much fun.  However, I do want the class to be competitive and still be a valuable choice and addition to any team.  But right now, every other class out damages and out utilizes the Engineer.  Elementalists deal significant amounts of damage, can easily swap attunements and begin healing.  Warriors just destroy, but that’s what they do, Warriors smash.  These are my thoughts on this matter.  The state of the Engineer is very poor right now from the last beta.  Either every class needs a good nerfing or the Engineer needs a good buffing/rework.  And as I have been saying all post long, one of the primary problems are turrets and how poorly those mechanics work in a game that prizes mobility.  It also makes me wonder why you would bring stationary mechanics into a game like GW2.  But that is a post for next week, faulty mechanics and whatnot.