Back from long break - 0 Hammer builds? — Guild Wars 2 Forums

Back from long break - 0 Hammer builds?

phor.7952phor.7952 Member ✭✭
edited August 1, 2019 in Guardian

Metabattle has expanded dramatically since I last played.
They list all types of builds now such as open world soloing and event builds that never would have made the cut before because they're not endgame content and you're not trying to optimize yourself with regard to a group of other players who are similarly optimized. But most players don't raid; and even fewer raid with the same group and optimize builds against each other... so I actively welcome these new categories.
Yet even with these solo categories, there's not a single Hammer build. And that confuses me. Did they do something to Hammer since PoF dropped to turn it into garbage? The skills don't look much different to me. A few traits that I would have used with Hammer at the start of PoF got nerfed, but a few others got buffed.

This is going to come with a lot of caveats, so remember I haven't played in quite some time. I also don't have full ascended gear (just have chest, weapons, and the 6 accessories). I'm also not using food or sharpening stones. Basically, I'm like most casual players while soloing story or roaming the open world participating in map events.

I went and tested my dps in the special forces area against an average weak golem (1m hp). Didn't give myself any boons or the golems anything special.

  • First with the Radiant Greatsword build that they score highly. Took several attempts, adjusting my rotation a little here and there, ended up being able to get an initial burst around 9200 and sustain around 8200 on average. I think that's pretty decent for no buffs/consumables solo play.
  • Then I swapped over to the Quickness Greatsword build they also score highly. Burst was higher at 11k and then sustain settled in at about 9400. So from a single target dps perspective it seems stronger. But you do lose some AoE from traps and you also lose Wings of Resolve which is a really good escape/re-engage for solo play. The regular heals from Mantra of Solace combined with the full heal from Tome of Resolve is definitely not bad though, and granting quickness to others during events is great. Pretty comparable to Radiant Greatsword.
  • Finally, I tried out a Quickness Hammer build - Zeal(323), Honor(332), Firebrand(223). The initial burst and sustain were both over 10k. You're able to solo stack 25 Vuln as well as self-stack 25 Might, permanent Protection, Vigor, and Quickness all with a dead simple rotation that leaves you tons of time to dodge knockdowns and such. You also have several Break Bar skills for event champs. I don't know, it seems just as strong as the Greatsword builds, and feels even more survivable to me.

Am I doing something horribly wrong with the meta builds, or are people sleeping on Quickness Hammer for Solo Play?

edit: Deleted hyperlink because links still don't seem to be working on the forums.

Comments

  • otto.5684otto.5684 Member ✭✭✭✭

    It is not. I am not sure you are using the correct builds on either. Power GS uses DH/radiance/zeal. If you want to maximize hammer damage, you will probably use the same trait lines. And you should be able to maintain close to 25 stacks of invulnerability regardless of your weapons set, using DH tether and SoJ. The 100% uptime on symbol is not needed for that. FB is always a dps loss in any power build solo. It has zero power damage modifiers, and unless you have significant amount of boon duration, the quickness uptime is not strong enough to justify using it over DH.

    Most definitely would not use honor in any dps build. It is a major dps loss compared to any other line except valor, which is in the same boat anyway.

  • phor.7952phor.7952 Member ✭✭
    edited July 31, 2019

    PowerGS is listed as a Dungeon/Fractal/Raid build. I'm talking specifically about open world/solo.
    Or are you saying that the builds they list and give a community rating in that section are actually bad / not up to date?

    I'll go try zeal/radiance/DH tonight to make a direct comparison with my gear. Radiance does make more sense to me with DH than Virtues does for solo play since Big Game Hunter's damage bonus requires tether, Renewed Justice ensures you can use it all the time. But since the majority of damage bonuses in Radiance require Retaliation, how do you keep Retal up with PowerGS? Symbol of Wrath (4/16 seconds) and Healer's Retribution (8/25 seconds) seem to be the only reliable sources. But together they barely get you over 50% uptime. Even running both Stand your Ground and Save Yourselves would leave you short on Retal. What's the duration of Retal you get when struck with light aura up?

    As for Honor: Protector's Impact, Empowering Might, and Writ of Persistence are all damage traits in the Honor line. They aren't direct % damage bonuses, but they're not nothing either. Self-stacking 25 Might isn't peanuts. But I'll go swap that out for Radiance with the Hammer and give it a shot as well.

    If my numbers seem low (and I'm sure they are because I'm not fully geared or using consumables), what would you consider a good build's single target solo DPS to be?

  • Virtuality.8351Virtuality.8351 Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 1, 2019

    As a fellow guardian player favoring Hammer, I feel bad for the state the weapon is currently in. In terms of area Protection, Herald just does an easier (with just two clicks) and better (permanent across 10 allies) job without being bond to a specific choice of weapon. In terms of area denial, Ring of Warding covers too little ground and is just impractical anywhere except in WvW for some gimmick play deployed with teleportation via Meditation. Line of Warding, on the other hand, is much more preferred whenever it comes to area denial under every imaginable circumstance.

    It's still my go-to choice for my Guardian, though nowadays merely for my personal love of it. The identity of this weapon is still relatively clear (damage reduction/movement inhibition/area denial). It just needs to do better at what it does, or be more practical in PvE/WvW scene how it does. (Or maybe it does reasonably well per se but just not on par with other functions other weapon sets could provide, at least in the context of WvW? Just some reflection in regard of the mace and shield meta.)

    Also, I happened to have tried out my own version of Quickness Hammer in the open world. It wasn't really my taste for too much effort required (at least for me) to maintain permanent Quickness. Plus, it was far from good at mob tagging even with permanent Quickness, which is to say at least one aspect in the open world.

  • @Virtuality.8351 said:
    -snip-
    Also, I happened to have tried out my own version of Quickness Hammer in the open world. It wasn't really my taste for too much effort required (at least for me) to maintain permanent Quickness. Plus, it was far from good at mob tagging even with permanent Quickness, which is to say at least one aspect in the open world.

    This was my experience too. I think there's so much loaded onto the AA sequence that any movement required to evade or reposition breaks the sequence and so just destroys any hypothetical golem-test DPS numbers. Especially since the symbol occurs at the end of the sequence, instead of the beginning. So, in real use, the mobs are rarely compliant enough to accommodate standing still for extended periods of time to DPS them down.

  • phor.7952phor.7952 Member ✭✭

    Absolutely, there are SEVERAL areas where Hammer really needs updates. I'm not trying to convince anyone that it's a top tier weapon by any account.
    I was simply surprised that there wasn't a "solo" Hammer build listed anywhere because it seems quite survivable with good solo dps.
    So far I prefer it to any of the GS builds I've tried out (including the meta dps Zeal/Radiance/DH) and just don't think it deserves the dumpster status it seems to have been given.

    With any Firebrand build, all you really need for really high uptime Quickness while playing solo:

    • Liberator's Vow and Stalwart Speed in Firebrand
    • Mantra of Solace and Mantra of Potence
    • Stand Your Ground (also gives you a stun break which is important for open world play)
    • Feel My Wrath
    • Runes of Leadership

    Engage groups of normal mobs with Mighty Blow, then hit each mantra once and they melt. If a vet or champ is in the mix, throw in Feel My Wrath and look to avoid knockdowns or pop Stand Your Ground and tank it. In long fights if you are popping Solace, Potence, and both Shouts on cooldown you will have a ~2 second gap in Quickness every minute and a half or so before Feel My Wrath comes off cooldown. You can cover that by using a concentration consumable or by popping a tome. Or you can just ignore it because there aren't that many situations in solo open world play where you'll be fighting something continuously for several minutes.

    On the issue of Tagging:
    If you camp Hammer to tag events, then 100% agree, it's REAL bad. But because your dps from Hammer almost entirely comes from camping AA and maintaining quickness with skills outside of the weapon, and since dps isn't that important during these tag heavy events, you can just slot in a Staff as your secondary. The "new" Staff with a Quickness build is an amazing tagging option. Better than Longbow, maybe even better than the old 600 Range Wave of Wrath Staff. And if for some reason you don't want to use Staff, Tome of Justice #1 still exists.

    And of course, you are correct that almost everything with Hammer dps is loaded into landing the symbol from the third attack of the AA sequence. But with quickness, the 3 attack chain that lands your Symbol takes less time than one (non quickness) AA chain with GS. So I disagree with your categorization of it as an "extended period of time". Mantra of Solace/Potence and Stand Your Ground/Retreat are all instant cast, so they don't interrupt the chain. None of the skills you will use on a regular basis root you either. With so few skills to concentrate on in "rotation", you can spend a lot of your attention on positioning. It definitely plays differently than most builds that get their dps from weapon skills.

  • Virtuality.8351Virtuality.8351 Member ✭✭✭

    @phor.7952 said:
    I'm not trying to convince anyone that it's a top tier weapon by any account.

    Don't worry, such assumption never came across my mind. I wasn't at all surprised to see it not on Metabattles.com though. One of the main reason, if not the only one, for me to equip a greatsword, that is, in the rare case I actually equip one, is the pulling effect Binding Blade offers, and just that would be enough to make it the most time efficient weapon against trash mobs, which one would just encounter a huge lot in the open world. Hammer per se is of course not terribly useless; it is just overshadowed by the combined utility and burst damage greatsword could offer.

    And you covered pretty much everything of Quickness Hammer in the open world. Personally, I prefer Weighty Terms over Stalwart Speed though.

    @phor.7952 said:
    But with quickness, the 3 attack chain that lands your Symbol takes less time than one (non quickness) AA chain with GS. So I disagree with your categorization of it as an "extended period of time".

    I do not think it is a fair comparison between Hammer AA with Quickness and Greatsword AA without. It is not like Greatsword and Quickness is in anyway mutual exclusive. Without Quickness, Hammer AA chain completes in 3.7 seconds while Greatsword AA completes in 2.5 seconds, according to Wiki. With Quickness, the numbers would be respectively ~2.47 s and ~1.67 s.

    And here comes the worst thing I dislike about Hammer: it takes 6 seconds to recharge Glacial Blow as well as to complete 2 AA chains plus 1 Hammer Swing and 1 Hammer Bash. That means every time my Glacial Blow is recharged, I am also right at the beginning to cast Symbol of Protection. So, either I interrupt it to cast Glacial Blow on cool down, or I spend additional ~1.33 second with Quickness to complete the chain.

    The latter would of course provide more DPS but would require more attention on the rotation, which is one thing I really dislike, for particularly my relatively high connection latency, and just feel clunky and unwieldy...yeah, I suppose that is how a Hammer should feel like in real life, but please, not in game design. :(

    Mantra of Solace/Potence and Stand Your Ground/Retreat are all instant cast, so they don't interrupt the chain. None of the skills you will use on a regular basis root you either. With so few skills to concentrate on in "rotation", you can spend a lot of your attention on positioning. It definitely plays differently than most builds that get their dps from weapon skills.

    Those skills indeed do not interrupt the chain or 'root' the character. They do, however, just like the AA chain of Hammer between Glacial Blows, require management. In my experience, I had to keep note at the remaining ammo counts of the Mantra skills, to cast them off cool down but not to commit the final charge. It was just a bit more work than desired for my laid back play style in PvE and too much effort compared to, say, Quickness Hammer Scrapper, and eventually I replaced Firebrand specialization with Radiance.

  • phor.7952phor.7952 Member ✭✭
    edited August 2, 2019

    @Virtuality.8351 said:
    I do not think it is a fair comparison between Hammer AA with Quickness and Greatsword AA without. It is not like Greatsword and Quickness is in anyway mutual exclusive.

    People don't talk about GS auto attack chain as being slow or clunky without quickness. As Otto said, most consider the meta for that weapon to be Zeal/Radiance/DH which doesn't usually run any quickness. But for some reason people describe Hammer as slow or clunky even with quickness. That was really my only point in making that comparison.

    _And here comes the worst thing I dislike about Hammer: it takes 6 seconds to recharge Glacial Blow .....

    Oh, you are using Virtues? That could actually be a major part of why you don't like it.

  • Virtuality.8351Virtuality.8351 Member ✭✭✭
    edited August 3, 2019

    @phor.7952 said:
    People don't talk about GS auto attack chain as being slow or clunky without quickness. As Otto said, most consider the meta for that weapon to be Zeal/Radiance/DH which doesn't usually run any quickness. But for some reason people describe Hammer as slow or clunky even with quickness. That was really my only point in making that comparison.

    Ah I see where this is coming from now. I suppose it is actually sensible to compare one build against another in a more holistic scope instead of analytic.

    @phor.7952 said:
    Oh, you are using Virtues? That could actually be a major part of why you don't like it.

    Yeah, and I am actually thinking about swapping out Glacial Heart for something else, or even the entire trait line, since Glacial Blow does not at all offer much better than Might Blow, and with longer cooldown is arguably a net DPS loss. Overall, I really cannot think of any point of taking that trait, unless Glacial Heart can be triggered upon taking off a stack of stability as well as disabling an enemy. I think I might as well just start another post about that.

  • @phor.7952 said:
    And of course, you are correct that almost everything with Hammer dps is loaded into landing the symbol from the third attack of the AA sequence. But with quickness, the 3 attack chain that lands your Symbol takes less time than one (non quickness) AA chain with GS. So I disagree with your categorization of it as an "extended period of time". Mantra of Solace/Potence and Stand Your Ground/Retreat are all instant cast, so they don't interrupt the chain. None of the skills you will use on a regular basis root you either. With so few skills to concentrate on in "rotation", you can spend a lot of your attention on positioning. It definitely plays differently than most builds that get their dps from weapon skills.

    With GS, AA is not where the DPS comes from, it comes from GS2 (spin-to-win). So, the time comparison should be hammerAA vs. GS2. I tried hammer again the other night with the quickbrand approach, and it was alot better, but 1) it still felt clunky and anemic, 2) repositioning breaking the AA chain is still an issue, 3) the build is invested in trying to make a poorly designed weapon work not so poorly.

    I'll probably keep trying it some more with different variations, because I like the idea of a big hulk-smash hammer, but so far it's not winning me over.

  • Trianox.3486Trianox.3486 Member ✭✭
    edited August 4, 2019

    You guys had a great and civilized discussion. Loved reading you.

    The Glacial Heart trait-skill does indeed trigger on any disable. I've been toying with axe 2 (traited for daze with Unrelenting criticism), axe 3 (pull), and shield 5 (knockback), which means 3 disabling skills (on 6, 12 and 24 sec CD).

    The following chain is really annoying in PvP or WvW:

    Pull -> symbol/daze -> AA while symbols ends.
    Then either A or B.
    A.
    -> More AA/dodge/mantra -> shield5 -> pull -> symbol/daze.
    B.
    -> shield5 -> staff/scepter/focus swap -> ranged fillers until pull is ready again -> pull -> symbol/daze.

    I love the pull, knock, and daze combinaison. It really mess People's up and there is little/nothing more annoying than "someone else" moving your character around... Combined with faster burn justice virtue, the extra bit of DMG and chill from glacial heart, plus axe bleed... the triple interupt just become so much more effective.
    I always liked combining condi + interupt.

    I also tried axe/shield plus hammer... And you morph into a really good area denial character.
    Scepter/focus is however better for DMG/ending the fight quickly
    Or staff better for some support/line of warding.
    That being said, as a Firebrand, staff felt less important given our access to tomes, and same for scepter if you traits and take soj for tons of burns or spirit hammer for more knockdown.

    Otherwise, I like playing hammer with Dragon hunter's traps in PvP. I receive a lot of salt. :-(

    As in PvE, axe-shield and hammer on Firebrand is a lot of utilities and area denial, adds in spirit sword or hammer and you're well covered for higher end DPs while you're "slowly AA with hammer" (which isn't that slow anyways with quickness, as noted OP). I would not camp hammer tho, but rotating back into hammer every now and then for the ward or big knock is just soooo enjoyable. Hammer AA combined with soj, does compensate the lack of DMG while offering nice survivability.

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