Build Wars: Zaishen Elite Dream Team (Because 4 traps is *so* 2006)

Today we’re going to talk about the mysterious Zaishen Elite, what it’s about, what builds to use, and why more people ought to be doing it. I’m seriously surprised at how relatively unpopular the ZE farm is considering its rewards and being pretty easy to learn and do.

Overview | History | Current Technique
Builds
Trappers | Finisher Elementalist | Spirit Spammer

Overview of the Zaishen missions
Zaishen Elite is an un-lockable faux PvP mission available on Battle Isles. It’s accessible to PvP and PvE characters alike after completing the Zaishen Challenge. A successful full run of the mission will net you 6000 Balthazar faction, which is why it’s popular among Z-Key farmers. The run is also handy for unlocking skills for PvP and/or heroes. After you’ve reached 6k, you will stop earning faction from the ZE missions for the next 24 hours. You can, however, continue to gain faction from other PvP zones like alliance battles and random arenas.

Both missions are styled to mimic the Random / Team Arena environment, accept you’re fighting against set teams of AI. In Z-Challenge, you and your team faces off against AI Teams on a one-on-one basis that you choose. There are five NPC teams to beat: Iway Warriors, Trap Rangers, Illusionary Weaponry Mesmers, Obsidian Flame spike Eles, and the mixed degen / hex team. To unlock Zaishen Elite, you need to defeat each team at least once.

Z-elite works similarly, except you keep going (like Random Arena) until you lose. Each game increases the number of opponents until it caps at some point, although I’m not entirely sure when. Runs usually take 15-20 minutes. With no deaths (all flawless victories), 15 consecutive wins will cap you out on faction. Most teams will go for the 16 just to be sure.

History
Traditionally, the favored team build was four trappers. At least 2 usually brought Frozen Soil, a spirit that prevents res since all AI bring res signet. The execution was simple; stack the traps at the door with one ranger putting down Frozen Soil in the back and wait for the AI to inevitably  run into them. 90% of the time this was flawless. The issue, though, is with ranged groups or groups that unstack, you end up with a pretty difficult fight on your hands. Because of this, over the years the teams have evolved to vary a bit more. Another popular build includes 3 traps and either a spirit spammer or “finisher” elementalist with meteor shower.

95 wins = leetsauce?

Back in the days of yore when the 4 trap team was -it-, a friend of mine and I ran an experiment to mix it up. At the time, using a Spirit Spammer was still fairly rare but it was gaining popularity. The two of us took up the mission; he ran as a trap ranger, myself as a spirit spammer, and we hero’d a monk healer and a meteor shower ele.

After getting flawless victory after flawless victory, we decided to keep going to see how far we could go. We ended at 95 wins. I can’t remember how long that took, but I know we were so tired and delusional we lost on purpose.

Continue reading

The VQ Blues: Creating a Hero Team

Over the past few months I’ve been very casually working towards my Vanquisher titles, focusing on Cantha first since I know the continent quite well. With the recent update allowing for seven hero teams and mercenaries, I revived my efforts and have been doing one or two clears a night on the weekend (well, until minecraft stole my soul). I’ve been streaming the VQs over on GuildWars2Live.com more often than not. While in chat, I’ve been asked to share my team build. I promised a video but since time and my lack of editing skills haven’t allowed it, we’ll start with ye ol’ text.

Now, I do run a personalized discordway, but not a full 7 hero team of it. I inquired on twitter as I’m ought to do and Hunter suggested that more than 3 discord heroes was a bit of a waste. After a few runs with 5 discords I was apt to agree. After thinking on skills and synergy, I came up with a build that worked nicely for me.

As a disclaimer, though, this is deviation from the usual builds you’ll find online (I’m not a fan of just copy pasta without thought, so 90% of the time I tweak builds that are suggested by friends or on pvx wiki). So it may not entirely work for you. I’ve had gleaming success with it, though, so here goes.

Overview:

I run as an SoS ranger. If you’re a rit, even better. Most professions can run a decent SoS easy if you’ve got good energy management: necros, mesmers, eles, and rangers are your best bet. Dervs and Monks can pull it off with some major tweaking. You’ll struggle as a warrior, sin, or paragon, however.

If you’re not an SoS, no worries. The team build I use allots for one.

So the core damage comes from the 3 discord necros; one curses, one prot, one mm. My forth necro runs SS and has extra hexes / conditions for Discord. I bring a support rit for heals and blood ritual (for me, mostly) and an interrupt mesmer with condition spreading. The final slot is wild-card. If I’m alone I’ll throw in a 3rd healer or 4th discord. Sometimes I’ll bring a friend.
Otherwise, take a hero to fill a void based on your area. A dervish makes a great AoE tank for VQs. A hammer warrior works here just as well. If you’re in an area with lots of AoE damage, a wards ele or prot monk can also be a good choice.

If you wanna see the team build in action, check out GW2Live’s on-demand video of my Unwaking Waters VQ.

The Custom Builds:

• Player: Ranger SoS | OggicxiMdN5D2JWOBNVNRDexA

This is what I run 99% of the time as a ranger SoS. The spirit choices are pretty typical: vampirism heals, agony does some serious degen, bloodsong has a nice life span. Painful bond is great for extra damage / hex req for discord. Armor of Unfeeling is typical for later in campaigns, but in certain early and easier areas can be replaced with a damage skill (I like spirit boon strike, or lamentation).
If you’re Rit primary, it’s business as usual. The issue of being a ranger is the energy management. Spirits will cost next to nothing, but PB will drain you fast in longer fights. I counter this by bringing a Blood Ritual hero. Ele SoS stock up on the energy storage, mesmers can trade in PB or Agony for their energy regen of choice. Necros should be ok with soul reaping, but you can bring Signet of Lost Souls / Necrosis if you feel it will be an issue.
Fill resto with whatever leftover points you have.

Continue reading

Wintersday 2009 Collectors Items

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Yes boys and girls, it’s Wintersday in guild wars. What that means is tons of cheer, presents, weird hats, Divine rivalrly, and GOLD, GOLD, GOLD.

This is the best time for farmers / VQ to make use of all those collector items that drop while out doing your thing in the wild digital yonder, driving up the prices of otherwise vendor trash. Special NPC’s appear during the holiday and will trade highly coveted items for some of these common drops.

For a full list of what items are tradable, check out the guildwars wiki page.

EZ Moad Farming:
Prophecies
Decayed Orr Emblems
-55 monks who farm the hot springs should be hoarding these!

Nightfall
-Juvenile Termite Legs
-Copper Shillings
-Silver Bullion Coins
-Sentient Roots
All can be farmed easily by clearing newbie island (Istan) a few times. Simple to solo in normal mode, worth soloing in HM as well.

More hardcore holiday presents can be traded for valued collector items like destroyer cores. Whether or not you wanna do this is up to you. I personally don’t think it’s worth it, but to each his own.

So if you find yourself having some downtime between throwing snowballs and enjoying the decorations, take an hour or two to add some extra income to your pocket.

Happy Holidays~!