From the official forums Brutaly.6257 made a very good general guide, even though there is a specific build underlying, most of the information is really useful. I particularly found the list of stats in point 18 to be the most useful part of the guide, specially for anyone who's not all that familiar with guardians. Anyway! Here we go, all credit to Brutaly, who wrote this guide... I'm just transcribing and formatting appropiately for GWO. ^_^ ~Raye
- Despite the title this guide can be used with a variety of weapons.
- A lot in this guide can be applied to them as well and they perform very nicely in an AH build as well.
- First of all if I missed anything or you find flaws, point them out and I will fix them.
- If you like it please post it and also request a sticky if you find it to be of great use to the community.
- Third, English isn’t my native language so bear with me.
- The guide is a compressed version of all the great discussion we had in the original thread. If I missed out on Your idea comment on that and I will edit this post.
- And to all the whiners, newcomers, reroller and poorly informed people and ofc the genuinely interested, in this you can find the answer to:
- How you solve the issue of dying 3 times as fast as other professions
- How to make conditions a breeze
- How to hit for over 5k with mighty blow in a tank setup
- How to perform nice dps with healing gear
- And why our effective healthpool in a fight is over 30k if you know what you are doing
- Why renewed focus is the best thing since sliced bread
- And much much much more.
- What is this guide based on?
- Why a guide?
- Altruistic healing and its potential
- Why play with the hammer?
- Hammer skills and their uses
- Must have traits
- Other traits that can be used
- Elite and Virtues
- Gameplay and our job on the battlefield
- Recommended stats for it to work
- A couple of valid builds
- Final words
- Killing the myth of low dps on the hammer
- Animation skipping, Ninjaskipping and Evasive Skipping
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04-12-2012, 04:59 #1
Brutaly's Hammer and Altruistic Healing Gameplay
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 07:38.
04-12-2012, 05:06 #2
1. What is this guide based on
In the original thread Trungalunga suggested that I should do a remake of the opening post since there was a lot of nice stuff added in the thread by me and others, so basically this is an attempt to gather most of the knowledge I can find in these forums regarding hammer gameplay and in particular in combination with altruistic healing (AH).
As a player I do mostly wvw and tpvp but I also roam cursed shore and visit dungeons. The main reason for that is to get the gear and try it out in combination with hammer/AH. Ofc I lack a lot of the knowledge some have in both pve and pvp so please respond and I will add to this post as we go along.
This guide is based on the above experience and ofc that I now have all crafted exotic gearsets and full sets of vit/tuv/pov and vit/pre/heal gear as well and a large variety of weapons. I also tried a large number of combinations and spent well over 200g on different runes and sigils so I can try them in all sorts of environments.
If I don’t have first-hand experience I will explicitly write so and also try to point at the source of the knowledge/experience but frankly I think I have tried every single suggestion in the original thread and also a couple of other suggestions I got from other sources.
Hopefully this makes me qualified to write a guide even though I find the word guide to be a bit pretentious but never the less here it is.
Most of the guide makes references to performance in pvp but all of it also applies to pve and can be done there, besides pure tactical stunts ofc. The extent of relevance is ofc different but I hope people use their brain when reading it.
2. Why a guide?
The answer is simple, the original thread was not as accessible as I wanted it to be and since it’s the most read non sticky in these forums I thought it deserves a sticky and hopefully you guys also support that.
Altruistic Healing AH
Mighty Blow MB
Whirling Wrath WW
Zealots Defence ZD
Zealots Embrace ZE
Ring of Warding RoW
Symbol of Protection SoP
Writ of Exaltation WoE
Empowering Might EM
Virtue of Justice VoJ
Virtue of Resolve VoR
Virtue of Courage VoC
Master of Consecration MoC
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 06:04.
04-12-2012, 06:01 #3
4. Altruistic Healing and its potential
What AH does is very simple, for each boon added to you and your allies you get a heal. So basically your ”job” is to maximize the number of boons you give yourself and your team and if you do that then you maximise survivability, so basically if you do max damage and give excellent support you will be very tough to kill.
In one of my builds AH healed for 73 per boon. Here you have a calculation on its potential with 73 heals per AH triggered:
Assume three allies inside the symbol and my build where AH heals for 73.
A hammer chain+symbol hits in total 6 times on a single target. Thats 3 crits (50% critrating) generating 3*73. Total of 219hp from vigorous precision.
You get in average 3 hits from empowering might as well but those also hit the teammates and give you 219*3=657
The symbol generates 3 ticks of protection, with 3 allies inside thats 9*73 which in total is 657 hp.
And when you trigger the combofield you apply retaliation to 3 people, which gives you 3*73=219
With three allies we get:
219+657+657+219=1752 heals to you.
With two allies:
Basically its about getting heals from a large number of sources and you do that thru good team support. Understood!!!??
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 06:04.
04-12-2012, 06:03 #4
5. Why play with the hammer?
The hammer is probably the most versatile weapon we have! Let’s just acknowledge that and then reason why it is so.
It has great sustained dps in the chain and mighty blow. The fact is that the third step of the chain+MB is very close to WW and ZD in burst and takes shorter time to execute while being fully mobile and its on 4s cd but more difficult to execute.
MB is our best dps tool, it has higher dps then WW and ZD and its also more difficult to avoid and it’s a gapcloser. That in the combination of the aoe makes it a great weapon versus multiple enemies. MB “requires” no cc to be effective as both WW and ZD do. It’s just plain old fashioned more reliable.
Add to this that it also has a symbol attached to the third step which requires no additional casting time and you are fully mobile while using it and ofc that it’s targeted. It’s not placed where you are but where the enemy is, this is great, read on and I will tell you why.
Besides these two (three) skills we also have some great cc at our disposal. They are all very powerful even though they demand both timing and positioning, as powerful tools should imo.
Of the 5 skills we have, 4 of them are aoe and 3 hit hard, even ZE can crit for over 1k in wvw which is kind of nice if you use it in the front of the enemy zerg, hitting 3-10 people with it. Basically the hammer is an aoe weapon and as soon as you recognize that the sooner you will choose your fights accordingly.
Some find the hammer to be slow and clunky, especially the third step of the chain, but imo this is what makes the hammer great, it’s not for everyone and it actually demands some skill to use but when you get it together then the payoff imo is higher than with any another weapon.
Overall I find that arenanet made a great job in putting our hammer together and it offers a smooth, but perhaps slow, gameplay which is very rewarding.
The hammer shines when you have more than one opponent to fight. Chokepoints, controlpoints, trashmobs or breaching the enemies frontline. The hammer is both defence and offense in the same package.
Add to this that a hammer guardian is the best class around to trigger combofields and isn’t depending on cd to do it. This weapon is a “groupweapon” and shines when it’s used as that.
Last but not least we have a bunch of traits that really boosts the hammer and AH and in a much more direct way then our other weapons, AH is a match made in heaven for the hammer.
04-12-2012, 06:05 #5
6. Hammer skills and its uses
The chain is a work of wonder and the reason for that are mainly two things.
First that it applies SoP (best symbol we have imo) and second that its slow. Sounds weird but it can be used to your advantage.
The first two steps are fast but the third step is slow and the reason for that is that it hits like a truck and applies a symbol which also applies damage. The thing is that the symbol is ranged so even if you miss with the third hit the symbol is somewhat ranged and will hit the opponent. So never cancel the third hit, use it and gain protection, do ranged damage and also plant the combofield and trigger it.
The thing with the third hit is that it applies both damage and the symbol slightly before the animation ends which delays the start of the next weaponskill slightly. This can be reduced by skipping the end of the animation and this is done by dodging. Basically you interrupt the end of the animation with a dodge and time it so you still apply damage/symbol.
This won’t allow you to do more weaponskills in a given timeframe but it will lower the time you are exposed to incoming damage considerably and also allow you to go from within melee range to out of melee range or it allows you to dodge towards the enemy to stay in distance. Basically it can be used both offensively and defensively versus both melee and ranged. The action is just reversed based on what you face.
This, animationskipping, works great in both pve and pvp and I recommend that this is a skill you learn. It takes both time and effort to both understand the benefits and also perform it, especially in pvp when your opponent actually uses his brain and your own stresslevel in general is a bit higher. A nice way of practicing this is equipping a low level weapon (low damage) and then pull two mobs in cursed shore and practice animationskipping, dodging between step 2 and 3 and also target switching with MB.
When in a groupfight you can do a little trick with SoP and that is that you target your main enemy but you attack the one besides him, this often allows you to move in and the intended target won’t move, people often move when they are attacked.
When you do the third hit the symbol will be placed around the intended target which leads me to:
Mighty Blow or even better ZE+MB+RoW. Locking him down for a chain+MB combo. This tactic, and variations of it, very often is very successful, at least when I play wvw or tpvp.
Besides MB being a great dps tool it’s also has a huge aoe and it’s the best combofinisher in the game and all this while making very fast target changes possible.
Something I find worth mentioning is how the aoe works on MB and it seems it’s not just a circle around the guardian. It seems as it is a circle around the place of origin but also a circle around the target/landingspot. This makes the aoe huge in practice and you can try this out by switching targets and you will damage the target you are jumping from. This also allows you to trigger combofields jumping out of them and also landing in them. This is great stuff indeed and further improves SoP or any other combofield. We have a leap with a blast finisher in both “ends” so to say!!!
Zealots Embrace is a tricky one, it has its limitations in duels and should basically be used at almost point blank or when you hunt someone down this is fully compensated with a very low cooldown for an aoe root. But in masspvp this just rules, the skill is all about positioning and lining the zerg up and mass root the lot. The closer you can be when doing it the more powerful it is and if you run with an aoe group this is just mayhem if combined with RoW. We are talking about 6 seconds in the aoe from an entire group, I will try to address the role of a hammer guardian further down so read on there is more to come on how to create panic in the zerg.
Banish is a nice tool even though kind of situational in both pve and pvp. The main usage imo is to either keep people from my objective or kepe them from their objective. In tpvp its great to clear cappoints with but in wvw and pve the usage is imo a bit different. You save this baby:
- Helping a downed teammate to not get stomped/killed. MB to close the gap and then banish, the damage from MB often stop the stomp in the first place. Very few like the idea of stomping if someone doing some serious damage to them.
- Pushing off cliffs, both hysterical and extremely effective in pvp.
- Preventing opponents to res, don’t hit on the guy ressing, stability is a kitten.
- Positioning and enemy/mob for your team, this is very nice in combination with knocking a downed opponent in the “right” direction.
One combo I like is when B is used in an offensive manor and this can be done by knocking them towards a wall so they don’t go that far, pull ZE to root, pull MB to close the gap/damage and finish off with RoW+chain+MB. After this not a single profession in the game will stick around. Not as long as you follow my advice in the gear and accessory section.
Ring of Warding has been mentioned a lot above and there are just a few things left to say about but the most important one is that its a CC and as such stability bypasses it. This is imo as it should be and I can’t understand the complaints.
Ring of warding is rather slow and its also stationary wich makes timing and positioning tricky indeed and you need to plan this one. I suggest you combine it with ZE and if they don’t break free (no stability) then you pull this one. If they break free change the gameplan to a bit more defensive one and time the moment when you go from defence to attack.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 06:52.
04-12-2012, 06:09 #6
7. Must have traits
Altruistic healing (Valor, Grandmaster, Major) is the first one and it’s the base of gameplay. This is also why supportive gameplay is so important since this trait gets stronger the more people you support. Not the same as playing support though since this gameplay provides tons of dps as well. I Play this very offensively and the boons are a means to an end and its much more fun then standing in the back being a healbot and it has just as much impact if not more.
Retributive armour (Valor, Adept, Major) is also mandatory, the reason for this is that it gives you about 5% more critchance and a lot of our boons, most in fact , comes from crits this is equal to both more dps and more survivability.
Purity (Valor, Adept, Major) is a no brainer in pvp but I also use it in pve. If you are dedicated in pve only there are other traits you can use but those have no or little bearing to the hammer/ah gameplay so that one you need to figure out on your own.
Vigorous Precision (Honor, Adept, Minor), this one is just amazing, every crit grants you vigor and ofc AH. This means that if you do an aoe and crit on 3 people you get three stacks of vigor and 3*AH. This is the bread and butter and one of the main reasons why hammer gameplay can be very offensive even though having rather small healthpools. Great synergy with retributive armor ofc.
Superior Aria (Honor, Adept, Major) It’s all about boons and here you can get more boons and more often. Shortend cd on shouts is a must.
Selfless Daring (Honor, Master, Minor) Well with vigorous precision you can dodge extremely often and considering how the chainskill is designed this is something you just want to do anyway so not having a heal on dodge is just plain stupid. This is also interesting since it scales very nicely with healing power so without any major losses in dps you can infact use this as very nice “adjustmentrait” when fine tuning your survivability. What i mean here is that you give up very little from your budget in vit/tought/pre etc to gain 1/1 ratio in selfless daring. Think about this for a while, its not as obvious at first and requires some thought.
Two-Handed Mastery (Honor, Master, Major) this is mandatory in pvp and if you want to trigger combofields as often as possible. The best use of MB in PvE right now is to trigger desirable combo fields such as fire for mights or poison for weakness. If there’s no such combo fields available at a decent rate, it’s best to do a chain x2 into MB.
But it’s not meta in pve and you can do really nice without it. Still you should have at least 20 points in the Honor traitline, either you use Writ of Exaltation for larger symbols or Writ of Persistence for longer lasting symbols. They serve two different purposes though but one of them should be used.
The reason why I don’t think they are must haves is that the same thing can be achieved in other ways which still can be considered as good investments.WoE provides larger area and more boons to the team and more crits on large packs of mobs/opponents.This is my first choice WoP provides with more crits on single targets, more boons and 24/7 protection on the guardian when spamming the chainskill, I know a lot of people like this one better.
If you want to max the incoming healing you go for Empowering Might (EM) which grants you and your team might on crit which trigger AH. EM has a 1s internal cd which makes it kind of tailor-made for hammer which has slow attackspeed so the cd is of little consequence.
So in pve there are 3(4) different ones to choose from as “must haves” but be sure to choose one of them depending on what you want to achieve.
Note by Raye: I just want to echo how important this next one is.
Inspired Virtues, to be honest, if you’re not traiting this, in any build in the universe, then you actually missed the whole point with the guardian!!! What this does is that it gives you the same benefits as 1.5 extra utility slot so it’s basically 1,5 extra shout on a 60s cd with huge aoe, teamwide, not squadwide. Trait it and stop making a fool of yourself, it’s as simple as that.
Besides that it also has some huge synergies with AH and the virtueline in general. People honestly have to start using the virtues, those are huge in any build, just check what 15 points in radiance does to VoJ and there are tons of stuff these babies contribute with if traited for it.
It’s a bit offtopic but it’s so important I think it’s worth mentioning.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 07:05.
04-12-2012, 06:11 #7
8. Other traits that can be used
Signet mastery shorten the cd on the heal. (pve and pvp)
Inscribed Removal which removes a condition when a signet is used. (pvp only, there is no reason to invest more then 15 points in radiance in pve with a hammer and AH)
Strength in numbers, honestly this is the only trait worth using in pve instead of purity but I honestly think loosing a condition every 10th second is more valuable but it’s a valid option. I wont suggest any alternative for retributive armor since that trait has excellent synergies with the core of a AH/hammer build.
Glacial Heart deserves a comment though and with 50% to procc and with 50% critchance its 25% chance to trigger and with a 45 second internal cd its just to unreliable. If you want a chill there are much better ways to achieve it and that’s both more controllable and has way better cd. More about that in the sigil chapter.
WoP, WoE and EM has already been mentioned so I will only bring up the ones left in the traitline.
Battle presence, with certain gear this is absolutely worth it and serves its purpose in both pve and wvw. Not so much in tpvp though since burst is king.
Pure of Voice, this is very nice and also has some nice synergies with runes. Its a bit bugged and you need to test what shouts it works with since I just can remember it right now. Think it was retreat and hold the line I got it to work with. Mainly a tpvp trait since conditions isn’t that much of a problem in wvw or pve or even in spvp.
Writ of the merciful, heals on symbols, mainly a pve feat but worth looking at but EM, WoP and WoE are better so I doubt anyone would choose it but there is a slim chance someone might find it to be their cup of tea.
Honor is the traitline with the most choices and its also here you can modify your gameplay the most.
Vengeful, this one is nice for tpvp, spvp and wvw. A build like this can actually have rather substantial uptimes on groupwide retaliation and this is definitely an option. In pve I wouldn’t use it though.
Master of consecration (MoC) nice in wvw and in some pve content, increased duration and lowered cd is king in wvw. This is also a great lifesaver, for you AND the team, when pushing for the frontlines, both when going in and if you have to run back to your mates. It also gives great potential in sieging in both defense and offense.
Consecrated Ground, also an option but considering the strength of MoC its kind of unlikely that you would pick this one over MoC. If you invest 20 points into virtues then its definitely an option but then there are a couple of other interesting options.
Absolute resolution, losing 3 conditions if using virtue of resolve (VoS) in combination with more heals in resolve, always interesting in tpvp and wvw. This is definitely an option for the more supportfocused crithammer player. And yes, surprise, you don’t have to tank up to be a support focused player, you just need the right gear and traits. Read on if this caught your eye.
Indomitable courage, stability to the team with a huge aoe and VoC every 30 seocond, always nice in tpvp and wvw and it can be combined with runes, gear and utility that further enhance the effect.
So in short there are a lot traits that are interesting to this way of playing and the way to make it work is infact the right gear. The gear often dictates what traits you should/would/could use and to cover all possibilities, 0/20/30/30/20, you would need 100 traitpoints.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 07:09.
04-12-2012, 06:12 #8
Atm I think I have over 15 exotic weapons, and 5 of them being hammers, in my inventory and all of them with different sigils/gems/orbs and whatever. The reason why I have so many is that it became to expensive replacing those runes so i bought a couple of testweapons so I could test different setups with my hammer arsenal.
The hammers I recommend are:
And the pre/vit/heal hammer from Ascalonian Catacombs
The ones you actually shouldn’t get are the cleric hammer and rampager and the reason for that is that the cleric gear in itself isn’t suited for a AH/hammer crit build and the rampager isn’t optimal due to the conditionstats it has, a AH/hammer build isn’t about conditions. I strongly advice people not to go for those hammers and I actually salvaged both of them.
If you want a hammer with healstats (mark my words, eventually you will) then the AC hammer is a much better choice since those stats (crits) also support the AH-build and its silly easy to get, it’s just three nights and 9 paths and you got it. This is probably the first one you get and the second will be the knights hammer.
Regarding the knights hammer och the berserker I think you should buy both but startout with the knights hammer
In pvp its pretty much up to you what weapons you use but in pve its a bit different.
In PvE, especially dungeons, you need to have every single weapon in your bag. You will need them whether to travel across the trap room with Flash Blade + Judge’s Intervention or use Protector’s Strike to group block certain boss mechanic like Kholer’s pull in AC ex or
Staff’s mobility when you want to skip/move through a certain part of the dungeon. Not to mention that you can combine the hammer with greatsword to be an AoE powerhouse or with sword/torch for single target.
These are a couple of examples but the message is, when going to a dungeon you bring all weapons with you and if you havent got a specific weapon you buy it.
04-12-2012, 06:14 #9
Since I now have/had 6 sets of armour (7 with my explorer set) I think I have a pretty decent idea on what to use and here is what I think you should focus on and in order of priority:
- vit/pre/heal from AC and karma
- vit/pow/tough from AC
Knights are great for frontline tanking and are very suited for stacking toughness and handle conditions. I will try to point out why in the buildschapter. Its also very suited for all aspects of pve.
Vit/pre/heal since they offer a more supportive role but still throw a serious punch if built properly. This one offers some interesting options which makes the game a bit more diversified.
Vit/pow/tough probably is the most all-around gear and can solve pretty much everything.
Berskerker for the laugh and how hysterically powerful a guardian can be and ofc open world pve. In wvw it works but there are better options in almost all aspects of wvw other then maybe small parties clashing.
The thing is that every player has their own sweetspot, for instance im good at dodging and hitting and that means I procc a lot of AH in relation to incoming damage which allows me to stay longer in fights with a rather small healthpool and high toughness, this is ofc as affected by other parameters like opponents skill,objective, terrain etc. My point is that you all need to find your sweetspot regarding hp/toughness but one safe bet is full knights gear, start there and evolve from that.
EveningStar, thank god this community has that guy, has started a very interesting thread which I think everyone should read and understand. There are som great posts in there, mine is only brilliant in fragments :-), it reading that will infact help you choose gear. The part, one of EveningStars later posts, about overhealing is very interesting indeed and altruistic healing as a concept is very interesting from that perspective.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 07:11.
04-12-2012, 06:16 #10
Same here as gear, I have a ton of them as well and to make it brief, get them in this order
- Clerics rings and neck
These are all crafted and the reason why I think you should go for knights is that is maximizing your survivability and also adds the most crits, the dps is still beyond good and you can take a severe beating.
Clerics are very well suited with the pre/vit/heal gear since it lacks pover and clerics has that. But you just buy rings and neck.
Here comes something really interesting I think you should get! In cursed shore, between Harrowed sea and Winterknell shore, there is a settlement and a karma vendor and there you can buy masterpiece (green) earrings with pre/heal stats on them. It’s the only ones I seen ingame and I can’t find any exotics in the database that has those stats.
Its kind of weird that those aren’t exotics imo but be greatful, they fit a support AH/hammer guardian beautifully. GET THEM.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 07:12.