Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Patch day

Just a quick one.

You might have seen the “state of play” video interview on gw2guru, where some of the Anet devs outline the PvP balance changes for the April 30th patch. I don't do any sPvP but a lot of these changes will also affect WvW and PvE so it's worth a watch.

The big news, for me, is that pets will no longer aggro mobs. This is a tiny fix but a pretty huge change; pets really do make moving through a crowded area tedious. As I'm currently running Clott's daggermancer build, which uses the Flesh Golem, this is particularly good news. I also believe they attend to buff her HP as she is a bit squishy.

The other big news is that Epidemic and Corrupt Boon will become unblockable. Quite why Corrupt Boon wasn't like that already I have no idea. I guess the Epidemic change is to make up for the LOS change.

Finally, the devs said that next patch (presumably May) will be focused on bug fixes. They've just been working hard on balance for the last few months and want to see how things go. They did pretty much admit that I had been neglecting bugs to be honest, so that's good to know!

Crafting in GW2

People” say that crafting in GW2 is broken and pointless. I respectfully disagree and here's why.

I knew I would craft from the start in GW2. I have crafted in both of my previous MMOs and I enjoy it. I get real pleasure from working out how to level up and breakeven at the same time. Let's face it, you'll rarely profit at this stage in most games; it's all about minimising loss.

My first two crafts in GW2 were Tailor and Artificer (necromancer remember). I quickly found that it cost quite a lot to craft. In the early days raw mats were in high demand and the cost of things like copper and jute actually had some value. At the time leatherwork was extremely expensive because leather was relatively hard to come by. By contrast leather is currently effectively worthless. Also, when the game was first released the market was constantly flooded. With a cross server auction house system supply almost always exceeds demand. It's virtually impossible to find a niche.

They do exist, though. Before the advent of gw2spidy I inadvertently discovered that several rare scepters and staffs could yield a significant profit. This was mainly because the skins were pretty damn cool. Crafting rare items also provides a significant boost to crafting exp. And, let's face it, what else do you have to spend that karma on?

Recently, I noticed that high level rare jewellery commands a significant price and decided that might be a nice craft to do on an alt I don't have the time (or inclinaton) to grind up. So, I took the plunge.

Firstly, I have a huge supply of mats built up. I'm a bit of a hoarder. That's not necessarily a good thing. A lot of people still don't have the hang of crafting GW2 and over-produce a lot of base components and end up selling the surplus for a lot less than the materials cost. Luckily, gw2spidy exists and it's easy to check if the materials are worth more sold than crafted. Sometimes, for example, it might be better to sell all your ore and just buy the ingots. The market is funny like that.

So, there's 3 stages to each “level” of crafting. The first stage is crafting components and some very poor quality items, the next stage is a selection of Fine items, which, again, are generally worthless and the last stage is Masterwork.

It turns out that Masterwork jewelry is actually pretty sought after and yields a decent profit. So, if you use gw2spidy and plan right, you can just spend all of stage one making components you need (unless it's cheaper to buy them). Then you have to suck up the loss as you craft crap for the second stage (I dumped most of mine in the guild bank). Obviously, it depends on the craft but, hopefully, at stage three you'll make that money back.

If you still feel a bit short changed take a look at the Rare quality items. Spending a bit of karma could yield some decent profits.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The road to Daggermancer

A little over a week ago I had my first taste of World vs World and, generally, I really enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of siege PvP in Aion, which I liked a lot. Aion had problems, the biggest, aside from a broken flight mechanic, was lag. Since only a small number of forts where under siege at any given time the entire server tended to congregate in one place. This made for some epic fights but it wasn't unusual to suddenly drop to 1 FPS for 5 minutes only to find out you had been dead all along.

Guild Wars 2 avoids that problem by having 3 other zones to play in, although I expect sieges at Stonemist are just as bad as Aion, if not worse.

Anyway, my first run went very well. I went with my guild and got 44 kills, which I was pretty pleased about. However, I did get left at the back quite a lot, not in a rear guard capacity, and kept getting picked off and abandoned. As a result I kept getting stuck miles away from the group and spent a LOT of time trying to catch back up. I soon realised that my build was part of the problem.

I'm a Necromancer, and a norn, not a popular combination. The build I usually play is based on scepter/dagger conditions. It's not bleed focused but I can stack about 20 bleeds solo no problems (being a norn has perks here). I like to combine that with Epidemic and circle strafe until victory.

That tactic works great in PvP, unless you get isolated, which I did. At one point I got jumped by two thieves and, damn, I barely touched them. It's hard to AoE an enemy that won't stay still. While thieves might be the rock to necromancer scissors, I did feel I should have done something rather than die.

I also found, when I got chance to actually monitor it, that my conditions never lasted very long. It seems that most classes can remove conditions quite easily and all classes have an escape mechanism so I rarely caught up to reapply while the removal was on CD. Speed was something I missed out on too. I think Spectral Walk is a necromancer's escape option but I hadn't even unlocked it. That might also explain why I couldn't keep up with my guild too.

So, a big rethink was required, knowing that I needed to make better use of Death Shroud (it has 10 second cooldown for reason!) and that I need to be able to defend myself if it got up close and personal. Since WvW only makes up about 20% of my play time it had to be a PvE build that could be adapted easily. There was no point looking at a pure PvP build because that's just not how I roll. I spent the last week looking at alternative builds and yesterday, I tried one out.