Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sword Master Rap

Almost to the level cap and really enjoying my Sword Master still, decided to put out my first Sword Master Rap. Enjoy!

Sword in your back jack, so what now homey?
How many times did I kill you, let me check the tome
Cause it shows, just how much you blows,
wiping out large numbers of my feeble little foes

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe
Who’s the next victim in the Sword Master show?
Blade is shining, witch elfs are whining,
you got me standing in the corner, it’s a gangster elf sighting!

And all you haters wish you had my skills,
turning in bounties for the dollar bills
Insta-gibbing destro pretty much at will,
or I can live forever if I want to chill

Wipe off my sword and leave you all crying,
your geeky friends are left on the ground…. Dying
Its funny cause I’m not even hardly trying,
but if I did damn… the nerfs would be flying

So think about it,
be quiet don’t shout it,
maybe next time you see me you can get me… lol doubt it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Balance Mechanic 2

Disclaimer – I still really enjoy the play style that the balance mechanic brings, part of the reason I really enjoy my sword master. I also don’t feel underpowered nor that we need some great buffs or that we suck. But…..

The balance mechanic does bring a bunch of drawbacks I’m not sure if other classes face similar things and I’m left wondering why our abilities don’t seem to be compensated for the lack of being able to use them all the time like other classes. Here are some examples:

Quick Incision – Our snare to stop people from running. This ability is in our second stance, meaning we have to hit the enemy with one attack before landing this. This is a huge drawback in many ways, they could be sprinting then get out of range, or we could get KB, disabled, rooted, or one of many many other things before we get the chance to land this. Honestly this should be in opening stance because of this reason, but its not. Other tanks all have it right there as openers, some melee dps classes too (if not all not sure). Ours we not only have to wait on, BUT, also have it compete with many other important second stance moves. All of that and if you do use it, its no better than other classes snares, shouldn’t it be better for all the drawbacks we face?

Eagle’s Flight – Our parry buff to help us parry when we use it. For one this ability is also in second stance competeing with all of our other abilities there. For two it lasts only 5 seconds! That’s barely one stance cycle, other classes have similar abilities, some are even spam able! Yet ours has a built in cycle restriction (meaning they get out of melee range or any type of cc on you and you once again can’t use it). So we have to use it every cycle forgoing all else in our second balance, and we have to cycle through balances to get to it. Shouldn’t this be more powerful than our counter parts that can spam this at will due to all these restrictions? Or at least last as long as theirs?

Blurring Shock – When this was more powerful it used to be something sword masters would use in perfect balance to set up the next cycle. Now in its weakened state nobody uses it. The reason? We have to use this as our perfect balance attack which takes the longest to get to and again has many important abilites there. If we use this we have to wait to use our knockback, (specced silience, knock down, ether dance for damage) or our damage reducer DT (which only last for 4 seconds!!! I won’t list it again but shouldn’t it be as powerful or more powerful than other classes who don’t have a restriction when they can use theirs?), or dazzling strike which increases enemy build times. So who can substitute this in for a weak dmg proc on crit? It really should be made an opener (so Khaine specs have a new option for openers which is our least diverse balance set) or buffed back up to levels where one might consider it as a finisher.

There are lots more examples but lets start with that. I know some classes have cool downs and other things, but I’m not sure they make up for the fact that they can choose when and how they want to use those important abilities, while we can only choose when and how if we happen to have enough time to cycle to the proper stance and then use it. Thank goodness for PoH moving balance, if they took that away I may really be frustrated. Whenever I spec out of it I feel so restricted in what I can do. For a class where stances are supposed to be powerful and advantageous I’m not seeing where they actually give the SM any benefit unless for some reason our skills and abilities we have in total are better than other classes. On that note maybe there should be some baseline ability like PoH to help SM's who aren't Hoeth and give them better tools to get to their abilities.

What do you think, does the balance mechanic actually offer any advantages to the SM? Do we have extra abilities or something better about our abilities to justify having to dance to get to them?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Heal Master

I didn’t think it possible based on the craptastic amount of healing that the SwordMaster tactics actually bring in (32 a tick and 45 a tick) but I actually think I’ve been able to build a heal master (when you want to be of course). The thing is you won’t get credit for your blessing of heaven healing in scenarios, but if it did show up I think you might see healing numbers in the 50K area or so, not bad for a defensive tank. Who knows, it could be much higher, its too hard for me to tell (I wonder if a mod would track that as healing for me, hmmm). In any case back to the topic at hand, its quite enjoyable in pve and sometimes in pvp, to be able to heal as a tank.

The spec is full Hoeth, taking everything except calming winds tactic (obviously you can do this before full Hoeth but this is when I’ve actually tried it so its hard to comment on using it earlier). Calming winds I skipped because I wasn’t sure (and still can’t tell) if the extra disrupt is even all that good. Reports on the forums are that high int classes negate it altogether anyway. So I took the rest, Bolstering Enchantments (heal tactic), AA (extra armor and disrupt), PoH (Bubble, super useful for absorbing damage while you are healing yourself), Blessing of Heaven (other heal tactic), Whispering Winds (lowers your cool down on PoH so you can use it in each cycle a few times and/or lowers your aoe knockdown to once per cycle for extra damage).

You can play with your gear, but if I go full defensive gear I can gather up a massive amount of enemies with this spec 35+ and then kill them all at once. Sure it’s a little slow since my damage is low, but its way faster than say putting on damage gear and killing them a few at a time for sure. If I put on my strength gear but leave on 1h sword and shield I can gather a little less but kill them all faster so it’s a slight tradeoff and I haven’t determine which is faster, but I have determined that one can level up quite fast this way, and its super fun to have that many mobs beating on you and not being able to kill you before you kill them all. Makes you feel pretty darn powerful hehe.

So here is what you do, equip your gear and put on the tactics Bolstering, Blessing of Heaven, and Rugged. Gather up the mobs while hitting them with EB>WoH>PoH>WoH rinse and repeat till you have a nice pile (start small until you get used to the idea). You can toss in a Gusting Wind if you feel you are taking too much heat, however I like to keep them pretty close and not let them wander off so I usually don’t. Then when you do have them all nice and lined up in a pile around you position them in front of you and start whacking away. PoH when its up as your opener, almost always WoH for your second attack (though if you feel you are getting crushed you can throw in an Eagles flight every third chain or more to keep you going, I usually don’t have to). Gusting Wind for your finisher when its up, when its not up hit whispering wind to lower the cool down on your PoH and your Gusting Wind.

That’s it, I got half a level from 36-37 last night in just a few hours (I was rested though). Also I was doing it in a pq with a ton of mobs so was getting the completion bonus, not sure if that was slowing me down or giving me extra but was doing it to try and get a gold bag (not sure if you can get one on easy pq’s hehe). Tactics can be experimented with, I’m going to try replacing Rugged with PE for more damage and see how that works out. In the end you just have to balance how many you can take on and at what speed. It is truly remarkable to be able to take on that many at all by yourself though, enough so that I thought I would share. Later if I have time I think I will write down the actual heal and damage numbers or load a mod so I can see what kind of healing per second I’m doing and what kind of dps as well. Whats nice is with all the blocks/parrys/dodge/disrupts plus PoH absorbs the heals even though small add up fast since a lot of the damage you aren’t taking in the first place. Also with really high armor you are taking a pretty small amount of damage from pve mobs.

In PvP this also works to an extent, however players can/will burn you down a lot better as they can cc you, disable you, and do a lot more damage than the mobs in general. Its still pretty fun though, usually can only take about 4 people on though and they will kill you eventually (sometimes faster than others). Have made some pretty nice stands using it though, guarding a location for quite some time till help comes. The best part about the whole thing is being full Hoeth I can swap strait out into my Str gear (2her or 1h up to me), change my tactic sets to EA, PE, +anything else, and do some pretty impressive damage. Makes for a lot of fun.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Putting the Sword back in Warhammer

Ahh good to be back in business and feeling good.

The last so many play sessions on war have been great. I got my SwordMaster up to 36 now and the cap is in sight! At 35 I was able to equip my new set pieces and form some nice offensive an defensive combos. And most importantly (I think) I respecced full Hoeth which has some of my favorite abilities that are good for offense and defense, sword and board or two hander. I bring the damage, and the defense, and whatever else J All in once nice package. In any case the bitter title is gone, currently I’m the denier of disease lol.

On that note what is it that makes the Hoeth spec so great? At least for me here is what I really really really am loving about it:

--EB opening attack is buffed by the tree. Using it and EA is still very strong when specced this way especially IMO.

--DS is a nice finisher, and can be used just for the damage if not for the additional build time on casters.

--Both aoe’s are buffed here, amazing for when I grind PQ’s. Cycling the two over and over and over adds up fast, and debuffs, can’t beat it.

--Self bubble that puts increases you to improved stance. Honestly, every time I spec out of hoeth I miss this so much it hurts. Its not just the damage absorb (which is nice), but it’s the ability to cycle my abilities without having to hit someone all the time, and it’s the attack chains it lets me do by allowing me to use it in which ever part of the cycle I want. Truly amazing ability.

--Whispering wind is great for the build time reducers on the self bubble and on the aoe knockdown. Using whispering wind first you can set yourself up to bubble 3 times in a row at 5 sec cool down each, or back to back aoe knockdown. Possibilities on these chains are a lot and are very powerful, especially in pve but very strong in pvp too.

--AA free bunch of armor and 5% disrupt, yes please! Simple but effective.

--Heal tactics are weak, but I like to take them anyway. They provide some fun times when no healers are around and you stack them. I rarely have them equipped but I find them useful enough to have fun right now, especially since I can’t get high enough in the other trees for a full spec build yet anyway.

There you have it, back on the Sword Master and loving it. Hope to reach for the cap and start running end game instances soon.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ramblings on War's Live Event Bitter Rivals

The event is coming to an end and I must say I usually like these things. However this last event has left a "bitter" taste in my mouth. Though the new patch hit which was initially quite fun to play with new things, I'm now trying to find out just how good or useful my different specs are and its really hard to tell with the newly introduced lag. My abilites don't hit, or target moves, or balance doesn't switch. Its pretty frustrating. I tried out a full D vaul spec for my SwordMaster which at first seemed pretty powerful but last few sessions I been getting blown up and can't do any damage to boot. Quite frustrating.

The new scen was nice in previous life events, and the concept of this one "twisting tower" is good. However I think the multi layer of it is causing massive lag in there. Having everyone fighting on different levels is like having them fight in the same place maybe? Not sure but whatever it is it causes the scen to be pretty unenjoyable for the most part. It also seems to make for a lopsided game. Either my team owns them or they own us, I've seen very little close games and a lot of zerging. Over all this makes this new scen a thumbs down for me. Bring back Reikland factory!

In any case I complete all the live event tasks and put on my new title earned (seriously bitter). That sums up my attitude (over the last couple sessions at least hehe). I’m bitter about the lag, and I’m bitter about getting roflstomped. Last few sessions have changed dramatically for some reason. Haven’t been able to kill well at all (but I am a full D spec) but on the flip side haven’t been surviving all that well either (which is suprising). Maybe my groups have been gimp, but its been lame as hell that way. Combine it with the lag and I would say I am “seriously bitter” hehe. I hope to push to 35 since some major gear upgrades hit me there. I’m probably going to have to respec (again) to tolerate the last half of the level.

The other thing I’m bitter about is the bastards who made SF4 but didn’t make it for Wii or PC. So lame, by the time it does come out most of my friends will be either seasoned pro’s or not caring much about it.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Should there be a tier 5?

Normally when you first enter a new tier, lets say tier 3, you fight against other classes who are slightly above you. They have at most about 10 levels on you, some new abilities and maybe 1 tactic slot. They also have some better gear, but what they don’t have is end game gear, or even a focus on gear typically. When you get to tier 4 all that changes. Not only are you facing the steepest level climb in terms of xp needed, but now you are facing all of the above, plus end game geared players or even RR 50, 60, or more. What that does is leaves you with a somewhat disheartening impression, especially if you are doing scens and orvr to level up.

I was thinking the game has been out a while now. Why not have a new scenario queue for just 40’s, and let tier 3 belong to the 39’s and lower. This would give more a competitive feel to the leveling up process and not create such lopsided match ups. Now I’m not sure what this would do as far as the zone domination scheme (Orvr would have to remain the same I’d guess) but at least it could make the scenario games more interesting and even. And lower the barrier to entry for those that hit tier 4.

As I’ve posted before it seems the game is at its most fun point in tiers 2 and 3. There has to be ways to make tier 4 more fun and the place to be. I like the zone set up but because the zones are so huge its also very easy to get lost there. Not to mention the number of high level mobs that wander the Orvr area’s easily make those fresh 32’s wishing to participate have a hard time. Then they have to learn many more zones than before (3 at least for each pairing) and navigate somewhat confusing maps of multiple levels (I’ve come up many times to mountains that I didn’t see or was too high up to join a fight below). I haven’t had a chance to see the “rally call” feature in action that they put for tier2 and 3 but if its good hopefully they add it to tier 4 as well.

What do you think could make end game and tier 4 better? Do you like war how it stands now? I’m still having fun, but my good friends interest is dwindling. My level ups are way slow, and thus my progress is too. I’m still trying to hit the cap, but it needs to remain fun and new. Keep swapping and zerging back and forth in the open field will get old pretty fast. Scens will too though I probably enjoy them the most currently (especially if the new twisting tower scen wasn’t so laggy). I’d like to try some end game instances, but I can’t imagine them being all that exciting after completing 2-3 times either. Anyhow, I’ll probably write about all that here, if War can keep me going.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

1.2 is here!

So the mega SwordMaster patch has finally hit. I was excited to patch up and see and test all the changes. And test I did, more than I have before. I found some interesting results and I definitely need to do a lot more testing but I will post what I found so far none the less. Here are my initial impressions:

My first thought is who patched in the massive lag? In PvE out in the world I was actually fine, but as soon as I stepped in the new scenario twisting tower or did any sort of orvr I was lagging pretty hard. I never lagged like this before. This hits SM’s probably double of other classes because we rely on a balance system to be able to use our moves. On a class without restrictions in a laggy situation you can mash one button and eventually it will go off, on the SM you sometimes are shown in the wrong balance and won’t ever get the move off no matter how much you mash because the game thinks you are in the wrong stance. Anyway this didn’t get me down too much, but it was pretty annoying and made it truly hard to test my actual performance in pvp which what I mostly care about.

I specced into a full Khaine damage build to try out ether dance (channeled damaging hit at the top of the tree). Let me say this, in pve and on stationary targets this thing is pretty nasty. When the lag issues get fixed in 1.2 I think this will also be nice in pvp. However as said before due to lag it was hard to test, I wouldn’t get near the full amount of hits off on anyone moving and I couldn’t compensate by staying on them because I was lagging as well. Still I could see the potential. I’d defiantly say using the damage spec was and is very powerful this patch, on par to or greater than before. I’m pretty happy with it though my results were unspectacular. Great Weapon Mastery is awesome to have and there are lots of tactics to make some really nice damage capabilities for a SM going with this tree.

I will over the next so many days test the other builds as well and hopefully report on them here. For now I would like to share my tests done on some of the opener’s a SM has available along with number from four of our damage tactics to compare. All tests were done at level 33, against a level 36 wolf using my Defensive gear (low str maybe 280) and 1h plus shield. I just wanted to get general numbers, I may re-run these tests using a 2her later for comparison. Spec was 13 Khaine.


Sapping Strike – 78
EB – 69 (non debuffed mob)
GL – 97

From the looks here a Khaine specced SM can certainly consider GL instead of EB as an opener. It still has slightly more cost per use (5ap) but I’m just saying I found it a useful alternative and it has many instances where it hits much harder than EB. Of course using it means you won’t be using EA but that is ok too since my research on the tactics seem to show EA doing not as good of damage as the others as well.


EA – 26 a tic times 5, lasts 5 sec, 26dps
PE – 75 a tic times 4, lasts 9 sec, 33dps
CoT – 56 a tic times 3, lasts 3 sec, 56dps
DI – 71 a tic times 5, lasts 10 sec, 35.5dps

Initial thoughts are CoT is much more powerful than before, is it actually the best choice now? I’m not so sold yet just based on this evidence what is best but it would appear that CoT got a lot better and EA a lot worse. DI became pretty good, but not sure worth the mastery point when the other choices don’t cost one. Do all these abilities raise the same amount given the same amount increase in strength and weapon dps? If so then it would seem this scale is pretty telling, and that slotting EA would probably be reserved for SM’s that spec hoeth and use EB as their opener anyway, while even those SM’s may choose PE or CoT.

So that’s my results for now, I hope to run more tests soon.