Shield of Absorption – A Bastion in the Dark

Shield of Absorption - Guardian - Talk Tyria

You’re standing on the edge of your keep wall, peering over the crenelations into the morass of writhing bodies, baying for blood below. Your commander shouts directions to the troops: “Man the cannons! Push them back!” Your allies rush along the length of the walls, dropping fire and arrows on the invaders below, but they just keep coming. Agitated, your grip tightens around the edge of your shield.

“Get that siege up! And for Dwayna’s sake step back from the edge!” but the command comes too late – you catch the eye of an unsuspecting sylvari: too concerned with building her arrow cart to notice she has strayed within reach of the scorpion wires and deflective walls from the enemies at the base of the wall. In an instant she is gone, enveloped into the chaos below.

You have to act fast – the ground troops in the keep’s courtyard could get the soldier back on her feet if only there weren’t seventy angry invaders clawing at her from all sides. She has a split second of invulnerability before she is lost, but you only need a second more to save her… if only the path were clear. You grip the arm-guard of your shield and, taking a running jump, leap over the wall’s edge.

Landing in the tumult below, you stumble – that was a long fall. A protective symbol sprouts from your feet and spreads across the ground around you soothing some of the pain and burning your enemies. Standing over your downed comrade, you crouch into a protective stance and activate your shield of absorption – a pale blue light erupts from your shield. The sheer force of the mystical energy drives the surrounding enemies back. You now stand alone over your ally, a clear ring of ground between yourself and the enemy. Arrows and fireballs fly from the twisting mass of opposing bodies – but each bounces uselessly against your bubble, sending waves of energy across the entire dome, like ripples on a millpond. You hear the keep gate open behind you; your allies rush out and pull the sylvari to her feet. “Retreat!” you shout, spurring your allies into a sprint back towards the gate. 

For me, this is the most satisfying part of being a guardian. There is no more pleasing sight than 50 arrows bouncing limply against my Shield of Absorption. You, effectively, take out roughly 1/3 of an armies’ firepower with just one skill AND you can activate it a second time during its duration to heal all allies AND seeing as it is a “light” field any projectiles which pass through it will heal conditions on allies! What’s not to like?

What is even better is chaining shields with another guardian to provide a full 8 seconds (or even more, with more guardians) of protection for a downed ally. I was doing this with a player I met called Sigma in the Aurora Glade Borderlands a couple of weeks ago. We were directing our troops back and forth from our keep gate to the enemy main base – each time one of our allies fell we run up and Sigma would begin to heal and I’d pop my shield, after 4 seconds we would swap. It pretty much guaranteed that we would be able to get the ally back on their feet almost every time.

For complete protection, you can also slot “Sanctuary” – a tier 3 slot skill – which provides a much smaller but much more effective shield which, in addition to blocking projectiles, also makes sure enemies cannot get within melee range. The only issue with this skill is it’s prohibitively long recharge, and the 1.5 second cast time. It’s not as effective as a “quick fix”, but you can drop Shield of Absorption and then use some of the protection that provides to effectively position yourself and cast Sanctuary. Sanctuary also heals and doesn’t need you to maintain it, so once it is up, you’re free to move, resurrect, attack etc.

Both of these skills are extremely effective if used correctly. Drop your shield at a choke point (such as the archway leading to the South Western supply camp in the Borderlands) to stop your allies from being mowed down as they attempt to push through. Push multiple enemies towards the edge of a cliff, away from a gate (from the inside) or off your tail when being pursued, with the knock-back effect.

The majority of the guardian population seems to have an infatuation with the greatsword. I get it – who doesn’t like swinging their large weapon around, after all? But the humble shield needs to get a bit of love, if only for this one skill. I firmly believe that it is the most useful tool in the guardian’s arsenal.

To the reader: Which is the skill which you most enjoy using with your profession? Do you use a “sword and board” with your guardian, or do you find you’re better off with a different weapon set?

 

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has just started his PhD so will soon (well, in 4 years time) be Dr Distilled. In his spare time he enjoys first being the Talk Tyria ranger writer, then having a falling out with his drakehound and divorcing his ranger and moving in with a guardian . He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at@Distilledwill!

Elementalist 101 – Utility

Zojja: Famed elementalist and former member of Destiny’s Edge.

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – The Joker, Batman

Elementalist Profession Series Part 2

In the first installment of the series I talked about the weapon skill bar with the intent of giving you, the reader, a sense of what each weapon and attunement felt like to wield. Today I will be talking about the utility skill bar, which allows for a lot of versatility in play style and complements the strengths and weaknesses of the weapon skill bar. My goal for this article is to give you a quick and dirty understanding of the different types of utility skills, make a case for when to use which ones, and offer a bit of advice on how to maximize the benefit of many of these skills by using traits. Follow along below for more information.

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Elementalist 101 – History and Systems

Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Guide

Severe Weather Warning!!!

Good ol’ Master Bronk taught me the benefits of superior firepower. He liked to say, “When it comes to besting the enemy, there’s no such thing as overkill.” – Asura Biography

Elementalist Profession Series Part 1

So…you are considering making an elementalist in GW2? You wanna control the weather, eh? Make things go *BOOM* *ZAP* *SPLASH* and *CRUNCH*? This article series can help with that decision. In this first installment, I plan to talk briefly about the history of the profession from GW1, race-specific skills that complement the profession, attunements, and weapon skills; all of which are important to consider from levels 1-30 or so (the history lesson is a bonus).

What this article series is: This series is meant to be a quick and dirty guide and advice column about the elementalist profession. I hope to promote discussion and encourage people to play this fun and versatile profession. This is primarily written for PvE gameplay.

What this article series is not: This is NOT a comprehensive strategy guide on how to play the elementalist profession. It does not include a list of all of the skills/traits with commentary. It does not discuss PvP strategy.

I can be long winded in my articles, but I’m also a big fan of tl;dr, so I’ll include that at the end of each section.

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The Power of Choice

Guild Wars 2 Thief

I choose YOU!

Choice is incredibly important in all facets of life. Ranging from simple choices, like what to eat for lunch, to complex and life-changing decisions, like getting a new job or buying a house, our lives are dominated by choice. Many computer games (notably recent RPGs such as the Mass Effect series or The Witcher series) give players important choices to make, each of which can affect the outcome of the game. I am a big fan of having choice in games. The power to choose where you want to go, what you want to do, and how you go about doing it. Freedom of choice, I believe, is vital for a game to thrive, especially an MMORPG. Luckily, Guild Wars 2 has choices in abundance. Follow along after the break for a brief breakdown of choice in Guild Wars 2Continue reading

Beta Weekend Engineer Changes: For Better or Worse?

 

This Engineer is decked out in some gear from the Mists.

If you’ve played the Engineer over the course of all 3 Beta Weekend Events, you might have noticed changes to some of your favorite Engineer skills. ArenaNet has done some behind-the-scenes number balancing as well as complete skill reworks. I’m going to look at four previously lacking aspects of the Engineer’s arsenal and what the developers have done to revamp them!

1) Elixirs

Elixirs have been a major source of grief for many an Engineer. While I love the cool effects you can get through the elixirs, the randomness prevented them from making it into my arsenal. For example, the tool belt skill for Elixir B (Toss Elixir B)  used to randomly give protection, regeneration, or swiftness. When I was in World vs World trying to move across the map, I would always want swiftness, so it was frustrating to not be able get that boon when I wanted it. I’m not going to say that all randomness is bad, but as a player you want to be able to react to different situations appropriately; having each effect be extremely situational and also be random is not going to be the best

ArenaNet acknowledged this criticism from it’s playerbase and made some nice changes for the better. They took Toss Elixir B and made it always grant Might, Fury, Swiftness, and Retaliation to allies in the area.  Elixir U was changed to always grant Quickness but additionally grant a negative effect, which can be either 50% additional damage taken, being unable to be healed, or inability to regenerate endurance. They also changed Elixir X to only choose between Tornado and Rampage and not Plague. I think Elixirs for the Engineer are now definitely viable in all modes! I used them and rarely felt like I was rolling the dice to get the effect I wanted. I think that Toss Elixir S could still use a slight change, however.

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The Archer’s Paradox: Rangers Then and Now

ArenaNet Ranger Concept Art

The Archer’s Paradox describes the phenomenon whereby an arrow aimed directly at the centre of a target will invariably miss. The bowman must account for the flex of the bow, the wind and the myriad of other external variables each time they release an arrow if they want to hit the target every time. The Guild Wars 2 Ranger profession might seem to be the same entity as it was in Guild Wars 1, but ArenaNet have made some significant alterations whilst still retaining the charm and lure which the profession holds in fantasy RPGs.

The Ranger was one of the core 6 professions in GW1. It always struggled to find a place in the typical PvE team – coming under the umbrella term of “DPS”. A Ranger would often find it difficult to worm its way into the standard setup due to having a lower damage output than Elementalists, Necromancers and Ritualists, less armour than Warriors and Paragons, a less reliable interrupt than a computer-controlled Mesmer, and virtually no support capabilities. It was a jack of all trades, and (at least in PvE) a master of none.

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Why Play the Engineer?

Guild Wars 2 Engineer

Coming out of the first Beta Weekend Event and Stress Test, many of us got the chance to finally try the professions we wanted to. Some of us, undoubtedly, still have no clue what we’re playing, whereas some of us immediately knew what profession we were going to play as soon as we got through the tutorial. I plan to play the Engineer, a steampunk-inspired, gadget-wielding, elixir-chugging daredevil whose archetype is fairly untapped by the MMO genre. Below is my list of 5 reasons to play the Engineer: Continue reading