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We need to talk about self-sustain


itspomf.9523

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First up, to preface things, I'm a filthy casual -- I make no secret of that -- so everything should be taken from the perspective of someone who hasn't much time to play (nor care to, of late) and hardly considers themselves very good even in PvE content, because that's at least an accurate depiction of where I'm coming from.  Also, I don't have End of Dragons, and I have no intention of getting it.

 

Now that all of that is out of the way, we really need to talk about what End of Dragons did to the ability for players to sustain themselves.

 

But what does "sustaining yourself" even mean?

 

Simply put, it's the ability of the player -- that's you -- to, well ... stay alive through the fight.  That's it.  Be that lots of boons, dodging out of the way, or melting your targets so fast the poor skritt can't hit back.  Whatever works, you go for that.  For a lot of us, however, that means using healing skills and being healed, either by our fellow players or by various effects we can employ through traits and specializations.

 

The problem is, End of Dragons nerfed that across the board.  Well, almost.  A few different classes survived unscathed, likely because they weren't being positioned to be reliant on Specter, the Jade Bot, or whatever else the new expansion was going to make baseline.  And that's a problem.

 

Okay, but how does that effect me?

 

In short, it's now harder to stay alive -- especially if you're not playing with the End of Dragons expansion.  And that's not fun.

 

Let's put this into a little perspective.  On the one hand, you have Necromancer, a well-respected dabbler in the dead who can pop a second life-bar almost at will and use their minions or their foul magics to heal them, via conditions and a slew of traits.  On the other hand,  you have Thief, who can do quite a few things to avoid being struck -- and very few things to recover once they are -- but nevertheless remain versatile thanks to their ability to restore themselves, jump into stealth, evade, or simply turn damage into healing.

 

Or rather, they did.  Nowadays, that's no longer true.  Let's look at Necromancer first.

 

  1. Parasitic Contagion, a hallmark skill in the Curses tree, was released in 2014 to convert 5% of condition damage into healing.  In 2015 (just over a year later), this trait was moved to the grandmaster tier and had its efficacy doubled, to a whopping 10% conversion rate.  Then suddenly, in 2022, with the release of End of Dragons, that number got halved, right back to 2014 numbers, at only 5%.
  2. Meanwhile, Vampiric, from the Blood Magic tree, siphons a minimum of 31 hp each time a minion strikes a target (however, they get 50 hp).  This hasn't changed since the trait was buffed by 20% in 2013.  It doesn't sound like much, but with six minions (this excludes those which can be brought in with other non-summoning skills and traits), that's 186 hp per tick.  A modest sum if you haven't even got any healing power.
  3. To add to this, there's Vampiric Presence, also from the Blood Magic tree, which grants you and all nearby allies the power to siphon 32 hp per hit (62 hp while in shroud) -- this includes your minions, effectively doubling their efficacy to grant 378 hp per tick, sans healing power.  Keep in mind that this number was buffed an incredible 5.6 times (560%) from its former numbers, to where it has stood since 2018.
  4. And don't forget Blood Bank, another Blood Magic mainstay, which converts 10% of all healing received into Barrier, which acts like free health (originally 15% in 2021, before the End of Dragons nerf).  At full health, the conversion is 1 to 1 (100%).  This means that, with minions alone and just standing there like a loon, you're getting the equivalent of 415.8 hp per tick -- or 756 hp at full health!
  5. Likewise, there's the mighty Quickening Thirst, also of Blood Magic fame, which increases movement speed by 25% and reduces all dagger cooldowns by 33% (that's 13% more than all other cooldown reduction traits) so long as you're above 75% health.  It also pulse heals you for 450 hp (sans healing power) 9 times, for a total of 4,050 hp, which outstrips a few low-end dedicated heals.  Not shabby, and it got some nice buffs in 2015 (for 20% greater efficacy of siphon effects) and 2017 (for 20% extra damage and healing if you and the target are bleeding).  But wait, there's more:  this converts Life Siphon (dagger 2) from a 10-second cooldown to a measly 6.7 seconds.  In short, you can now heal substantially more often without worrying about healing skills.  And if you took everything above?  That's an extra 288 hp from hits, and 434 barrier if you're hurt -- or 4338 barrier if you're not -- more than doubling the effective healing!
  6. Oh, and don't forget Last Rites, also from Blood Magic, which is going to grant you up to 450 extra healing power, just because you've got a boo-boo (or +150 if you don't), so all these numbers go up a little further.
  7. There's also Vital Persistence in the Death Magic tree, which gives +180 Vitality (1800 hp) and +20% incoming heals (a change made in 2018), so basically bump up most of those numbers up there.  All of them.

 

Okay, so apparently I lied about Necromancer and they're still really, really good at sustaining themselves, and that's without building for it (or using shroud).  We're looking at the ability to gain potentially 10,410 effective hp in 6.7 seconds flat, under ideal circumstances, or 5206 barrier if fully healed.  And that's without other sources or using healing power.  With only 1000 healing power, you can expect to see closer to 12,000 effective hp.

 

Oh, and all of that is core Necromancer, so literally anyone can do it.

 

So what about Thief?

 

I'm getting to that.  So.  Thief.  There's ... well, dodging, stealth (which recently got a dubious side-grade), playing Daredevil if you bought Heart of Thorns, and running away when all else fails.  But let's assume you didn't do that and you're interested in what non-dedicated healing Thief can manage on its own.

 

Well, there's ... not much.

  1. First off there's Mug, from Deadly Arts, which heals for 1980 hp when you steal -- basically on a 30-second cooldown, so it's actually worse than using your worst healing skill (by raw numbers).  This is, in fact, down from the range of 1980..2700 hp from back in 2013, prior to the specialization patch / nerf.
  2. Next up is Invigorating Precision, from Critical Strikes, which converts 4% of critical damage into health, or an equally paltry 6% if you have Fury, which you probably will.  Maybe.  Oh, and that's worse than it was at release, in 2014, which was 5% flat, and the September patch 5 months later which bumped it up to 8% flat, and the 2015 patch that bumped it to 15% flat, and the 2018 patch which bumped it to 10% conversion or 20% with Fury.  It's pretty awful, now, and you'll see why in a moment.
  3. Skipping Shadow Arts for now, and we get to Assassin's Reward, which just plain gives you 102 hp per initiative spent.  It was last buffed in 2016 (+50% healing, +70% healing power coefficient), and prior to that saw a buff in 2013 which granted +30% healing power coefficient.  For example, smashing something with a 5-initiative skill will net you about 510 hp (but actually less than that, thanks to hidden decimals).  Nothing impressive, but it's a solid little boost all the same.
  4. Okay, back to "the defensive one."  We've got Merciful Ambush, which grants you 493 healing when you enter or exit stealth (or both).  That's 986 healing every 3 seconds (because Revealed exists), and is already better than Invigorating Precision and Assassin's Reward (particularly since with off-hand dagger and the Cloak and Dagger skill (paired with Shadow's Rejuvenation), this is practically free real estate).  This effect is completely new in 2022, so there's no precedence here.
  5. After that is Shadow Savior, also from Shadow Arts, which heals you for 298 hp whenever you complete a shadowstep (your nearby allies, however, get 596 hp).  It synergizes with a ton of skills, so you won't want for access to bonus healing.  First added in 2019, it ... literally hasn't been touched since.  Ever.
  6. Following that is its competitor, Cloaked in Shadow, which heals for a markedly lesser 194 hp off up to 5 targets, whenever you gain stealth (or any target you happen to blind, which it also does).  That's a potential for 970 hp, placing it up near Merciful Ambush if you use it in a real melee.  In 2019 it saw its base healing doubled and got +60% healing power coefficient; everything before that is not applicable.
  7. Shadow Siphoning, from Shadow Arts, is your next baseline lovely, granting 504 hp each time your stealth attacks connect, but no more than once per second.  That's quite solid, and on par with Assassin's Reward.  Shortly after its introduction in 2019, it began to heal 62% more health.

 

Hold on, though, let's go back to Assassin's Reward for a moment.  Let's say you're playing a critical-hit Thief, using Berserker and Assassin's gear, with Ascended trinkets, and your Pack runes guarantee Fury at the start of the fight.  Right off the bat, and following ArenaNet's design philosophy that you should proabably always have ~75% baseline critical hit chance (so that the +25% from Fury equals 100% critical hit chance) you should be converting 6% of your damage to health.  That sounds okay, right?

 

It's not.  It's really, really not.  Because you're still going to be healing for less than what pathetic little pop Assassin's Reward will give you.  In fact, this means that someone who didn't even spec for critical hits -- like a condition build -- will heal more than someone whose entire kit is focused around always dealing critical hits.

 

To make it worse, several options in Shadow Arts outperform even that, so there's really no reason to even both with anything else for staying alive.  So even though there are "as many things" Thief can do for raw healing as Necromancer (who actually has a few more I didn't bother to list), the numbers themselves are woefully skewed and look like a joke by comparison.

 

Which they kind of are, if you're still playing Thief (which I, regrettably, do, albeit on rarest occasion now).

 

Wait, that sounds wrong.  That seriously can't be right.

 

Were it only so, fair reader.  Were it only so.  But instead, we have one traitline that has basically lost its ability to contribute to sustaining a class and has been supplanted by a grandmaster trait in a line which has traditionally been laughed at for years ever since Heart of Thorns released in 2015.  So yes, using a fairly commonplace example of two wildly different classes (because I couldn't find an elementalist who was alive to ask), we can see that whatever was going on here went completely sideways.

 

And I'm still trying to wrap my head around who could have possibly seen this and said "this is fine."

 

So what's the tl;dr?

 

Play Necromancer.  Or, if you bought Path of Fire, play Firebrand.  Or if you bought End of Dragons, play Mechanist and let your new robo-nanny take you to the park while you spam 1 on auto-attack and soak in the pretty scenery.

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I think this is a matter of relooking at how your build works. I mean, you go in depth with necro. If you want to sustain as a necro and you can't, that's not because there isn't a combination of skills and traits that won't do that. It's still quite sustainable.

If you are going to complain that class X sustain isn't good because look at Class Y do it better, then that's not a valid complaint. That's just a sign you should choose to play class Y if you want that Class Y level of performance. If you just want to propose Class X get better sustain, you better tread backwards from the "Class Y is better" argument to do it. Just because something is better doesn't mean something else can't achieve a similar result. 

What is even more helpful ... post your build. People will suggest how to make it better. If it's already the best build for what you want to do ... the problem isn't the game. 

Edited by Obtena.7952
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3 hours ago, Valisha.8650 said:

Specter can be extremely sustainable tbh.

That's kind of missing what their point was. Core Thief used to have good sustain that supported every elite spec past and present. Invigorating precision was the trait you told new players to use when they're learning because it can make up for your own mistakes in group or solo. The trade off for taking Invigorating Precision was pretty significant too. There is so much forced movement (or Rifle DE's case forced rooting) that new and low end players have to learn to work around it, sustain traits made it less costly and easier to recover from. It's harder now to pick up non-Specter playstyles.

I'm a pretty experienced daredevil and the thing that killed me most often in EOD wasn't any mob but the forced movement of Weakening Charge after something I was hitting died.

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Yeah, when all sustain builds besides EoD were nerfed at EoD's release, and then kept getting nerfed (I mean Scrappers lost 60% of their sustainability) You can tell just how much they wanted to force everyone onto the new specs, unless they were so terrible (Untamed) that even nerfed the previous spec was better. 

But like Mechanist, for example, is super tanky and its very hard to die even if you have no idea how to play if you use cele gear. When I saw those thief nerfs they looked like they would hurt, and basically yes, force you into spectre for open world. And honestly, the Jade bot level 10 should not be a requirement for any content, now or future. If they base all content on you being fully buffed with all boons, both Jade bot buffs, and the Jade bots Vit with all your normal gear stats.... that's a bad thing. 

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Listen buddy, if you want to play a core necro dagger dagger (or warhorn since you want more healing?) minionmancer that uses no death magic (since you want soul reaping for vital persistance) while also using parasitic contagion despite having practically 0 condition applications then more power to you.

But don't try and fool people into thinking that listing every healing trait on a class and merging it all into a single build is somehow a logical and valid argument for your own specs healing.

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It is kinda wild how I can go on my celestial FB and simple play my way through content solo, but to do the same on my celestial tempest, I feel like one of those characters in an action scene in a movie, moving here, there, and everywhere, switching elements, timing this cooldown here, this cooldown there, and crutching big on that mastery downstate ability if I screw it up. It can be fun and I would miss it if it was simplified into oblivion, but it's very high intensity to have probably less or about the same solo capability overall than the FB. The only thing the tempest has a clear edge on is projectile reflect, but the FB can do tomes that are about as useful if not better.

Anyway, I suspect what happened is they wanted to balance more in relation to end-game PvE content, so they nerfed sustain to push a more trinity-like composition, and either ignored or didn't think about the consequences on open world play. Whatever the reason, it blows and robust support heals are pretty uncommon in open world, so even with a group, it just means more downs for people to rez.

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2 hours ago, Bookah pls.9352 said:

Listen buddy, if you want to play a core necro dagger dagger (or warhorn since you want more healing?) minionmancer that uses no death magic (since you want soul reaping for vital persistance) while also using parasitic contagion despite having practically 0 condition applications then more power to you.

But don't try and fool people into thinking that listing every healing trait on a class and merging it all into a single build is somehow a logical and valid argument for your own specs healing.

Missed opportunity to end this comment with your account name.

Also OP is comparing 2 core classes with very different designs here. Thief as a core class is built around avoiding getting hit in the first place through stealth and evades. Meanwhile necromancer is basically designed to be a damage sponge, no ways to really mitigate getting hit, but alot of tools to take the damage and resustain it.

So yeah, necromancer should have superior healing here. That's intended design.

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I think the main point they're trying to convey isn't that you should take all of the self sustain, but moreso that some classes have such an easy time of self-sustain that when you loom at other classes, it doesn't make any sense. From the perspective of a lot of the classes, when you decide to go tank, you're giving up a lot of damage. This just makes sense, obviously, you're doing a trade-off. However, the problem I personally have with this is that if I become more tanks, I should some actual sustainability in a fight. As-is, I'm often finishing fights with basic enemies in a bit of a rough patch on a tank build, whereas on necro I can simply activate my second health bar and be good, or on guardian I can dump out so much protection and aegis that I don't need to worry about incoming damage for a long time, with -any- build if I just swap out one or two of m my utility skills. The utility skill lineup for guardian is -really- good, and I wish every class was able to say that. I want to be able to pick up any class, and have my skills he the primary contributing factor to my playstyle, that are then further modified by traits in minor ways. There is some of that, but ultimately the philosophy only really seems super present on guardian and a few other specs.

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On 7/10/2022 at 11:49 PM, Gibson.4036 said:

The self sustain nerfs were heavy handed, and several were completely unnecessary.

My renegade, mirage, daredevil, and holo, though, still have great survivability. EOD is not needed for survivability on many classes.

Anet see's this comment: "So we decided to nerf the sustainability on Rene, Mirage, DD, holo, Ele in general some more and also Warrior because Warrior" 

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1 hour ago, Gorem.8104 said:

Anet see's this comment: "So we decided to nerf the sustainability on Rene, Mirage, DD, holo, Ele in general some more and also Warrior because Warrior" 

Had great difficulty deciding between laugh and cry emoji.

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1 hour ago, Dadnir.5038 said:

OP's wall of text in a nutshell:

"Look! Banana is longer and yellower than strawberry! So obviously it's pointless to eat anything but banana, pear and orange!"

 

And they're not completely wrong, I think some numbers are too undertuned right now, especially Impact Savant on Scrapper because it's as weak at sustaining you as all the other traits but the trait actually has a freaking penalty to vitality attached to it while necro gets its 5% conversion for free. For the most part there was no rhyme or reason behind these nerfs and they just kind of hit out of the blue for no particular reason, just like how freaking Napalm on engi flamethrower got its burning duration nerfed on EoD release.

I think it's fair to say that some of these EoD release changes were just pure nonsense with some clueless person just throwing some numbers around and they are not properly balanced right now.

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6% of 10k DPS, all of it crits, is not insignificant. Combined with everything else available and you should be able to get up into the 900 self HPS range while having the ability to disappear into stealth, hit foes with blindness, CC and so on. If you are solo in the open world you will die only due to player mistakes or missing a tell on a one hit KO. In group content you will depend on others for at least some of your sustain...like everyone else.

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6 hours ago, Ashen.2907 said:

6% of 10k DPS, all of it crits, is not insignificant. Combined with everything else available and you should be able to get up into the 900 self HPS range while having the ability to disappear into stealth, hit foes with blindness, CC and so on. If you are solo in the open world you will die only due to player mistakes or missing a tell on a one hit KO. In group content you will depend on others for at least some of your sustain...like everyone else.

True but it's the sPvP subforum, solo OW shouldn't even be talked about here.

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