Shield of Absorption – A Bastion in the Dark


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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!

Beta Weekend Engineer Changes: For Better or Worse?


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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.

Continue reading

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


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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.

Continue reading

GamesCom 2011 – Day 2


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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.

As promised we’ve got a PvP oriented update for you today!

GuildWars too PeeVeePee Factomentae

At the PvP booth were ten pc’s set up against each other to get right into the action. One side played the red team the others the blue team. The Battle of Kyhlo is a sizable capture point map which does a great job at displaying the effect of the Z-axis. While you wait for the match to start you can walk around and fight-for-fun or just explore the whole map. =D The goal of the map is to reach 500 points. Points are gained by holding a capture site or by defeating enemies (10 pts). Currently all capture points provide the same amount of points and take the same amount of time to capture. Neutralizing a point is much faster than capturing it.

GuildWars2 PvP has a very deep pool of tactics available. For example if someone is in a downed state you can either leave them there to disable them for a while, or “Finish Them!” to ensure the other team is a player short for until respawn. It is possible to switch skills and equipment during the match, as long as you’re not in combat. This way the whole game can still change and isn’t determined by the initial skill setup. There is no enemy targeting, map pinging (except on the minimap), spectator mode or other UI tools for party communication in the demo.

If you haven’t seen it yet you should check out our PvP gameplay footage (direct audio) from Day 1.

Continue reading

Guild Wars Guru GvG Tournament (That’s a lot of G’s)


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Sharpen those blades, hone those skills, and read up on those builds. It’s GvG time!

The folks over at Guild Wars Guru announced last week that they’ll be hosting a wide-scale GvG tournament this spring, with an explicit focus on making the championship accessible to as many players as possible.

The tourney will have four divisions: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Casual, and each boasts some great prizes to give away to top players.

On top of the tiered divisions, they are offering a mentorship program to help casual guilds and players with little to no GvG experience in order to teach them the ways of the wise. Guild will be able to pick a mentor once they register for the casual division.

Dates to note are as follows:
Registration: March 19th – April 4th
Bronze & Casual Division: April 9th
Gold & Silver Division: April 16th

And the prizes:
Gold Division – NVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti (retail value: $250)
Silver Division – Logitech G110 Gaming Keyboard & G930 Wireless Gaming Headset (combined retail value: $223.98)
Bronze Division – Rude Gameware Fierce 5000 DPI Laser Gaming Mouse v. 2 & Fierce Teflon ® & Steel Mouse Surface (combined retail value: $79.90)
Casual Division – Bigfoot Killer NIC (retail value: $89.99)

This is a great opportunity to get this feat under your belt. If you’ve always wanted to give GvG a real go and never had a chance, this is the time to do it!

Check out the thread and official pages on Guru. Feel free to register and ask questions, hop in the Guru IRC, or follow GuildWarsGuru on twitter to keep updated as new information comes out!

Spread the news and hope to see you on the battlefield!

Prizes are courtesy of NVidia, Logitech, Rude Gameware, and Bigfoot. Image courtesy of Guru and BlueXIV.

Comment Corner: What do you guys think? Excited for the tournament? Thinking of joining in the fray?

All I Want For Christmas Is Engaging PvP


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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