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, 05:59 #1
Brutaly's Hammer and Altruistic Healing Gameplay
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 08:38.
04-12-2012, 06:06 #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 07:04.
04-12-2012, 07:03 #3
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, 07:01 #4
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 07:04.
04-12-2012, 07:05 #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 07:52.
04-12-2012, 07:11 #6
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 08:09.
04-12-2012, 07:12 #7
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, 07:14 #8
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 08:11.
04-12-2012, 07:17 #9
Here are some setups that’s valid options for an AH/hammer build and ofc its superior runes with one exception.
5Ranger+1Lyssa (Get a decent crtchance in vit/pow/tough, they absolutely need these runes and if you get this don’t bother using anything else then critchance enhancers, 6*Lyssa is a very strong option)
6Soldier (Usable in both berserkers and knights)
6Dolyak (Great in knights with a constant increase in incoming heals. Small healthpools and high toughness benefits more from heals. Can also be used in berserkers but rune of the soldier are better suited for that)
6Forge (20% protection duration and 10 sek protection when under 50% health works really well in knights and ofc berserkers)
6Lyssa, all boons for 5 seconds after using an elite, works will all builds and gear. This is just great with renewed focus and virtues. Statwise it suits vit/pow/tough best since it needs precision.
3monk+3water (useable in knights and ofc vit/pre/heal, 30% boonduration and 150 more in heals on every dodge)
*2monk+2water+2*major rune of sanctuary* (See monk+water except you don’t get more than 50 extra in heals but 40% uptime on boons also great dps setup for vit/pre/heal gear)
2strength+2fire+2Hoelbrak (berserker, knights and especially vit/pre/heal benefits greatly from these babies, max dps with berserkers but with these you can hit extremely hard with the heal gear and still dodge heal yourself for 1k per dodge.)
6Dwayna (You get area regeneration for the team when using a healskill, super nice and goes really well with all gears actually. The paradox is that the smaller the healthpool the easier you fill it and the less you need this for you, see it as support, it’s not for you and you still get AH from regeneration on the team.
2-4runes of vampirism (thx Fabsm for trying these out, I just started testing these and I don’t know yet if I like them but the concept of a lifeleecher is interesting even though I find the proccrate to be kind of low but I will get into sigils that leech so I thought I should mention these as well. They seem to work best with knights gear though)
6Divinity. (Nuff said, great allround runes but god they are expensive. Not suitable for vit/tuv/pov though)
If its just stats you are looking for then upgrades/orbs from BLT is enough and you get those for like 2 silver a piece. Runes are really just necessary in pow/vit/tough (max crit) and if you want a certain function they offer.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 08:13.
04-12-2012, 07:18 #10
I tried a bunch here as well and these also has impact on your secondary weapon so I write the hammersigil first and secondary, if applicable, sigil last, ie Energy+Energy
Energy+Energy, my personal favourite in all kinds of pvp, being able to dodge 3-4 times in a row have saved me so many times in wvw its silly and it also support the animationskipping, in tpvp especially but not so much in wvw. This sigil has really nice synergies with vigorous precision. Can be used with all runes and geartypes
Intelligence+Energy. 100% crit on MB is huge in tpvp and the hammer is the weapon this sigil works best with. The setup is one offensive weaponset and one defensive set.
Strength/battle+Strength/battle these are used to stack might with a build that’s supports it, and if you want might on swap (3 stacks for 20 seconds with battle) or the chance of getting 1 stack for 10s on crit is personal taste but most people will find that in tpvp swap is preferred and in wvw crit is preferred. In pve I would go for might on crit. This sigil has great synergies with empowering might, inspired virtues and renewed justice.
The hammer alone should be able to have you hovering at 10 or more stacks, which improves dps greatly.
In general 1h weapons are superior in might stacking thru swaps + crit and faster attackspeed but its definitely viable.
I would use these with the same gear as I use monk+water, monk+water+sanctuary or strength+fire+hoelbrak.
So if you want to be a healer and hit hard as hell then you use monk+water, empowering might, VoJ and ofc the staff. So use empower on the staff (more might) and then swap and hammer with VoJ and might on crits. If done correctly you will have 20 stacks in seconds and then you hit hard, really hard.
Hydromancy This sigil makes glacial heart obsolete 100% chance to chill on swap for 3 seconds which is nice in tpvp. Sigil of ice proccs on crit for a 2s duration with 10s internal cd. This is also better then Glacial heart.
The only reason to use glacial heart is if you want to stack freeze and then I would go for:
Hydromancy+hydromany and Ice in the offhand and main being sceptre in wvw and/or sceptre/1h sword in tpvp. But it still doesn’t justify glacial heart imo if you look at what you lose out on. Nice on all geartypes.
Accuracy, 5% extra crit is always welcome and has synergies with the entire concept. Well spent money if you haven’t geared up properly. Nice on all geartypes.
Perception or Bloodlust These are really nice in pve and especially in open world. They are best put to use use on sets with low stats in the area where they contribute. Bloodlust increases power which suits vit/pre/heal and Perception favors vit/tough/pow.
These sigils earn a stack if the kill is done with the weapon its mounted in and the stack also remains if you swap. I don’t know if you can have both types in two different sets weapons and both types of stacks, based on the weapon you kill with. If you can these are monsters in pve but someone else has to test that.
Fire works great with this build and adds more aoe.
Blood hits for about 300 and heals for the same amount, in aoe fights this is major thing since 30% chance on crit and only 2s internal cd. I’m trying this out atm and this looks to be a beast in wvw and also pve. I tried this during BWE and it’s not worth it in Tpvp unless you run with a 1h build, 1h handers once more benefits more from this but in wvw it’s definitely an option for hammer gameplay.
Suitable for all geartypes and definitely its an option.
Purity, 60% chance of removing conditions on crit, nuff said, stop whining about conditions and trait and gear for them. Best suited for players that doesn’t know how to stay clean?
Leeching about 1k damage and 1k health on swap, suited for tpvp and pve not so much in WvW since swapping is much more uncommon.
In general the concept of leeching feels more and more desirable and I will definitely explore this further, I just have to finish my tests of the hard hitting healer, it might be so that the “leecher” might be a hybrid offspring from the hard hitting healer.
Rage, just have to mention this one even though its for the staff. When a clash happens pull empower to boost your team, then activate retreat and run into the horde of foe and start use the staffs skill 1. In one or two aoe-hits this sigil proccs and the fun begins. Just saying, try it, if not just for the fun of it and if you can do it with empowering might and VoJ for 6 more stacks of might and ofc boon duration runes and consumables.
Last edited by Raye; 04-12-2012 at 08:17.