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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Guild Wars: Flash elementalist in 8v8

I guested for a couple of games for Spirits of War [SoW] last night. Lots of fun. Both the teams we played against had such low rankings that we thought they must be smurfs, but no, they were just pretty terrible.

In case you're not familiar with the smurf phenomenon, this is where you form a new team of experienced players specifically to distort your ranking. Players doing this are said to be "smurfing". There's a number of reasons for doing this but it's usually either so that you can play against people who are much worse than you (and consequently win a lot) or experiment with some untested strategy where you don't want to ruin your "actual" rank.

Even with a lack of challenge - in one match half our team stripped off all their armour and fought naked just because they could - it's a reminder of just how much fun the guild vs. guild format really is. The only real drawback is time - with 8 players to a team, the overhead in getting a session going is considerable. You invariably end up having to wait for a player or two to create their PvP character from scratch, since you can't edit characters and instead must delete and re-create them. Hopefully at some point ArenaNet will add something to help fix the character-creation issue (e.g. stored "templates" for PvP characters).

And without further ado, let's talk about the character I was playing since it's a well-known archetype and I'm not giving away any secrets.

Flash bot
12 + 3 + 1 Air
10 Healing (some people prefer to have this at 11)
9 + 1 Energy Storage
Blinding Flash
Lightning Strike
Lightning Orb
Heal Party
Ether Prodigy
Resurrection Signet

The X and Y are interchangeable depending on exactly what you're doing. Popular picks are Enervating Charge, Gale, Holy Veil and Draw Conditions. I've also seen Windborne Speed since sometimes this character is used as a flagrunner mostly because Heal Party is radar range. Flagrunners also sometimes replace Ether Prodigy with Mind Shock.

This character looks at first glance like it's filling an offensive role but it's really mostly defensive. Your primary task is to cast Heal Party whenever 4 or more people in the group could use it and to keep opposing Warriors in the midline or backline of your party blinded. Enervating Charge is there for Weakness rather than damage. You should keep Orb to throw in for a spike on a called target and use Strike to soften up other targets.

Ether Prodigy provides awesome energy regeneration and is currently the energy management skill of choice for elementalists. It goes without saying that you should bring a Staff of Enchanting on any character using Prodigy.

It's a little fiddly to play just because you have to be positionally aware of where the opposing Warriors are, watch your team's health, keep track of where spike targets are so you're in line-of-sight and range for Orbs and make sure that you're not going to take too much damage from the "whiplash" damage at the end of Prodigy. Still, a great utility character with a bit of assisting killing power.

I've seen 4 different primary elementalists in GvG right now:
  • Flash bot (above), by far the most common and the only one I've seen in the top guild builds except for [Rift].
  • Warder, spec in Earth for Ward against Foes and Ward against Melee. Usually carries Obsidian Flame as a spike skill. This is uncommon and usually it seems that people run Wards on a secondary elementalist. Here's an example of the primary ele build.
  • Water snarer. Not very popular because the Henge of Denravi Helm (which reduces hex durations to 50%) is an effective counter right now. The Helm will inevitably be nerfed and then maybe we'll see a bit more of this guy. Here's an example (under the name "Ice Ice Baby").
  • Glyph of Renewal fire nuker. I've only seen this in the strange [Rift] minion build which a fair number of guilds have copied. It uses Energizing Wind to reduce its horrendous energy costs. It's all about doing a ton of AoE damage quickly with spells like Rodgort's Invocation and Searing Heat then running out of steam.

Just remember, being an elementalist normally isn't about nuking. Choose your targets wisely.


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