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!

Guild Wars 2 PvP: Taking the “I” Out of Team

Lone Wolves Need Not Apply

Choose your Allies Wisely

From my experiences in the first beta weekend and the recent stress test, PvP in Guild Wars 2 promises to be some of the most dynamically engaging and thrilling MMO PvP to date. From the epic scale of World versus World, to the small unit tactics of structured PvP, trait build speculation and team composition theorycrafting are two rabbit holes that will only get deeper as we get closer to launch. However, there is one consistent truth I have observed across all of GW2′s PvP: team composition is more important than any one individual’s trait/skill/weapon build.

Don’t get me wrong, choosing the right traits, weapons and skills is clutch, and mastery of your class is a huge element of  success. However, too many of the PvP demonstrations on youtube focus on a lone wolf mentality. While there are certainly some cool solo builds out there, each profession TRULY shines when they coordinate their support abilities with their allies. However, unlike other games where choosing to play a support role locks you into the monotonous task of buffing and debuffing, boons and conditions in GW2 are much more tactical.

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The GW2 Beta: A WvW Weekend with a Wild-Eyed Dolyak

 I gave the dolyak a hearty slap on the hind quarters. The keep wouldn’t stand against another attack without these supplies. Time was of the essence: there was only so long the warriors of Kodash could nip at the heels of the invaders before they over extended and had to retreat. The castle defences need repairing before the invaders can gain the upper hand and push us back behind the walls.  

I spent the entire weekend gallivanting around the Eternal Battlegrounds. A whole weekend laying siege to keeps, escorting lonely pack animals, defending ogre tribes and mercilessly hunting down the opposing team – all in the name of journalism, of course. It’s a lot to cram into one blog-post, so, without further ado:
Step one to getting to WvW was creating my character (well, step 0.1 was getting into the game – something I didn’t achieve until the early hours of Saturday morning). I thought: who is the baddest cat in the entire world?  Clint. So I made Clint.


I asked myself, do I feel lucky? The answer being a resounding yes, I jumped into Tyria and swiftly scurried through the starter quest (a necessary PvE distraction – I wanted to get as little exp from PvE as possible before jumping to WvW). Once out of the tutorial I hit H, selected the PvP option at the bottom and whisked myself away to the Mists.

I climbed to the top of the rise, a little ahead of my shaggy companion, and scanned the horizon. Not much further, I hoped. We’d held out as long as we could – charr alongside human and norn, but eventually we’d used the last of our supply and the gate began to creak. Fireball after fireball rained down on the bolted steel and wood. If the detachment from Stonemist hadn’t arrived when it did, we’d have been overrun. Shouting slurs from the battlements is all very well and good, but once the gate falls and the flood of steel, lightning bolts and arrow heads washes through the breach, even the most stalwart warrior’s bowels turn to water.

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GamesCom 2011 – Day 3

Karasu and MeWulf travel to GamesCom for TalkTyria in an attempt to play GW2, get swag, interrogate the minds behind GW2 and share their experiences with the fans at home.

Today we bring you more gameplay footage from both the PvE and PvP demo.

PvE: Pleasure your ears and eyes, for glory.
Given an early headstart we were able to place our beloved cameraman MeWulf and his camera behind one of the stations. Because of this we’re proud to present a full playsession of the Norn starter area in 1080p direct-audio, this time without the sound distortion:

(Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

In part5@3:44 and onward you can see the start of an interesting event which involves Raven statues that each give you a riddle to answer, written by Ree Soesbee.

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I swung a sword, I swung a sword again, I gained a new skill!

Pardon my obvious Colin reference, but I feel this new skill acquisition needs to be brought into further review even before the Gamescom demos begin.  Allow me to further quote the man with the golden smile.

“We just don’t want players to grind in Guild Wars 2.  Noone enjoys that, noone finds it fun; we want to change the way that people view combat.” – Colin Johanson, GW2 Manifesto

If this is the case, then why does this new skill system exist?

I got mad skills! No, really. I do.

The old system

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Hypnotized, Mesmerized…By What the Fans Believe

Mesmers are an iconic profession in Guild Wars. You either love them or you hate them, but it wouldn’t be Guild Wars without them. The same is true, in this author’s opinion, for Guild Wars 2. Three professions have yet to be revealed and ANet has all but announced that we will see mesmers making a return in Guild Wars 2. Many fans are eagerly awaiting more information about this profession and are hopeful for their return. This article serves as part introduction, part discussion, part speculation, and part homage to mesmers old and new. Continue reading

All I Want For Christmas Is Engaging PvP

One could say that PvP was the driving factor that provided Guild Wars 1 with such longevity. Guild vs. Guild matches, Heroes Ascent, Random Arena battles; one could spend their time doing nothing but PvP and keep themselves occupied in the game.

So why then is PvP one of the most hush-hush aspects of Guild Wars 2 we’ve heard about so far? Some negative Nancies have speculated Guild Wars 2 won’t focus nearly as much on PvP. I’ve even seen some people go so far as to say Arenanet is struggling with balance issues. Neither of these people have played the game yet, but the negative Nancies can’t help themselves.

Instead of talking about what Arenanet has talked about so far, isn’t it more fun to discuss  what we want to see? Who doesn’t love filling out a wishlist?

Here’s mine: Continue reading