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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Guild Wars: Monking in RA

First, a little (minor) e-drama. Before the holidays, I left my guild (PIE) - and joined the much larger XoO in their PST GvG division in a bid to improve my play via actually getting more PvP in. Nothing wrong with PIE - a great bunch of guys and if you're looking for a casual, mostly PvE guild they're highly recommended - but I just wasn't scratching the PvP itch.

Anyway, I played a couple of GvGs with XoO and frankly felt like I sucked. Then the power went out due to the giant windstorm. Between family staying over the break and spotty internet connection, no GW was played at chez Clamatius.

Started playing again with more-or-less the same GvG character the last couple of nights and I was still sucking. In random arenas, even. Here's the build, just a standard blessed light monk:
Shadow Light Healer
Divine Favor: 14 (12+2)
Healing Prayers: 9 (8+1)
Protection Prayers: 9 (8+1)
Shadow Arts: 7
Blessed Light [Elite] (Divine Favor)
Gift of Health (Healing Prayers)
Reversal of Fortune (Protection Prayers)
Spirit Bond (Protection Prayers)
Mend Ailment (Protection Prayers)
Shadow of Haste (Shadow Arts)
Dark Escape (Shadow Arts)
Signet of Devotion (Divine Favor)
In RA I had Shield of Absorption instead of Spirit Bond. Anyway, the whole point of this character is that it sacrifices utility for better survivability via the assassin skills but I was so terrible I was dying all the time anyway.

My conclusion from this is that (a) I haven't played monk in a long time and (b) when I did I was being horribly spoilt by the brokenness of good energy management and Divine Boon. More importantly, I've had a lot more practice playing other roles in PvP since I was monking back in the day and I just wasn't enjoying myself compared to playing, say, a ranger or a flashbot. I think I need to concentrate just on playing midlines - and branch out into ranger - instead of trying to monk as well. I guess that's the first New Years resolution...


Blogger Sausaletus Rex said...

As someone else trying to get back into PvP lately I can sympathize with you. Last night I did some GvG and the team, at first, wanted me to Monk. I had to calmly and patiently remind them that I had not, in fact, Monked in months and I would, in fact, cause the entire team to die horrible deaths in minutes thanks to all my rust and the many skill changes that I had absolutely no clue about because even though I might have been a passably good boonprot back in the day that's like playing a Monk with training wheels. Not quite as good as in the days when the game came out and you could have massive life/essence bond chains for infinite energy, mind, but close to it. Good energy management and brokenness makes up for a lot of mistakes.

But, really, any role you try and pick up (or even pick back up) is going to be difficult - especially at first. You might be more comfortable playing a flash turret or a Ranger but that's probably because you've been playing similar things lately. The longer you don't play Monk the harder it'll be to relearn all you've lost. At least, that's how I feel at the moment. And, you know, replace Monk with everything

Anyhow, what I'd say is that RA is a horrible, horrible format. And builds that work fine in other context absolutely will not work there. To get an RA Monk you have to get really absurd because, at minimum, you have to assume your teammates have just bought the game and will be Warrior/Elementalists who will try to wand the other team to death (You think I'm kidding...). So, I wouldn't feel too bad if you bombed out there - you're only as strong as your team and an RA team can be a crapshoot (And I find that you need lots and lots of utility because you need to cover so many bases. Oh and surviving when you have a bullseye on your forehead is a plus, of course.). The test there isn't so much if you win but how long you can survive with absolutely no help.

Sadly, unless you can stomach Aspenwood (Which, don't, I tried it and it's about three times as frustrating as RA thanks to leechers not to mention I hear it's horribly bugged), it's about all there is as far as real casual PvP. But you might try Team Arena and seeing if the people on your team can give you some Arena specific tips on Monk builds.

1/05/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Clamatius said...

I think the key is that I just like killing people. :)

I did a little bit of target calling before Xmas for PIE and while I still need a lot of practice, it was very satisfying. I think I'm going to avoid monking in future and stick to midlines if possible. Specializing my role will hopefully help me suck less, as well.

I've played a bit of Team Arena (practicing target calling) and I really like that format. Actually, the thing that got me fired up about TA again was playing the sealed deck at PAX.

Sadly, most PvP people seem to much prefer HA or GvG over TA so it's hard to round up a group for TA.

1/05/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Sausaletus Rex said...

I think the key is that I just like killing people

I knew there was a reason I liked you.

Actually, the thing that got me fired up about TA again was playing the sealed deck at PAX

Sealed deck seems like a really interesting format. And one I'd like to see more of. Especially if it could be run in-game somehow (My idea would be to have player run tournaments where people could set any number of things, including the skills allowed. Be a good way to see what things the community really valued and also to foster the creation of new formats like Dodgeball. You could do simple things like, say, having Gale be unavailable to Warriors. Or complicated things like "Okay, this one's getting played without attack skills just to see what happens!" But if you included a randomizer, perhaps, that would give people ten or fifteen minutes to slot their skills from a shortened list before a match started that could give people the sealed deck flavor.) But, just like the Snowball Arena which I'm dying to get back to, I think it would make for great "entry-level" PvP. Which, let's face it, the game is sorely lacking.

RA is all well and good, especially if you have a build you want to try out and no other way of doing so. But I'm talking about formats that draw and encourage not just people who have absolutely no idea what they're doing but also seasoned pros. Puts them on as equal a field as possible. And shakes things up so that the inexperienced aren't completely run off by the experienced. Formats that remove a lot of the complexity and uncertainty of having a gigantic list of skills to pick from would seem to me a natural way of doing so. But the challenge of snapping together the pieces is a natural draw for what I'd call the "M:TG" crowd and a step towards "real" PvP while still being encouraging to people who are clueless ("Well, I would have won if I had drawn better skills. I didn't even get Mending. That's it, I was just unlucky, I'm going to go again."). It's all about lowering the barriers across the entry points and getting people to try things out. Because, I think, as you and I can attest to, getting up to speed in some PvP formats takes a lot of work and preparation. That's daunting to some people and they'll never try.

Sadly, most PvP people seem to much prefer HA or GvG over TA so it's hard to round up a group for TA.

True. It's sort of a self-fulfilling prophesy - good players don't go to TA so when they do they don't find much competition and so they tend to stay away - rolling people up is fun but not something you want to do for long unless you need the faction.

But, then, it's hard to round up a group for anything, if you ask me. As I said, I GvGed last night and spent a considerable amount of time just getting people in the same instance with the right skills and the whole runaround that's familiar to anyone who's tried to play that sort of game.

But, if you ask me, PvP is like going to a restaurant. There's plenty of different places to go to each with their own special draws. Sometimes you're in the mood for find dining and sometimes you want some comfort food. (And sometimes you just know the place is going out of business or closing for the winter in a bit so you eat there every day. Which reminds me, I have to get back to snowballing. I'll get my numchuck on yet thanks to the reprieve.) So I like to play in all the formats.

And, you know, if you're ever in the need of someone to play with, feel free to drop me a line - my in-game name's remarkably easy to figure out (Never hurts to network if you want to PvP, you know, because you never know who's going to need a guest or a guild or whatever.).

1/05/2007 09:24:00 PM  

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