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Hello all!

I'm a bit of a helicopter player, having always enjoyed the game at a fairly surface level, however I feel my lack of a more in-depth understanding of building is preventing me from realising a classes full scope of potential. Now we have the the Steam release and the attention of new players, this may be the time for this rather loaded question. 

Buildcraft....where does one begin?

When we look at "the Meta" its a way of building (traits, weapons, armour runes, infusions, sigils, etc etc) synergistic/complimentary play which yields optimal results. I'm not looking for Meta, I'm looking for a way to understand where to begin. With so many game modes and activities, what sort of mindset does someone adopt to understand where to begin with so many variables when trying to create something of their own? 

Thank you for reading and responding in advance. 




Edited by Vedras.5602
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In my eye, the basics are:

• Knowing what your stats do. Understand how to get strike damage (Power + Precision + Ferocity, and thinking about crit cap), understand how to get condition damage (Condition Damage + Expertise, and paying attention to where conditions actually come from — since not every weapon or trait line applies a enough conditions for a condi build to be worthwhile), understand boons and boon duration, understand how scaling multipliers work.

• Learning the value of boons boons boons. Both offensively and defensively. Think about how to self-generate boons if you're playing solo, or what role your build will play in a group and how that maps to which boons you will provide to yourself, which boons you will provide to everyone, and which boons you will need from other people in order to play at peak performance.

• Trait synergy. This is the stuff that turns a basic competent build into a truly strong build.

• Understand your class/spec's resource cycle. I.e. learn all the mechanics of clones if you want to make a useful Mesmer build, learn how Initiative works if you want to make a thief, &c.

• For endgame PvE especially, stacking +%damage boosts from traits.

• Understand the viable roles in group PvE (dps, offensive support, defensive support; in some fights one player is a designated tank also) or SPvP (roamer, duelist, dps team fighter, support) and how they work together to make the team achieve things.

• Think about your rotation (for instanced group PvE), area attacks / CCs (for open-world PvE especially), or burst combos (for competitive).

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It might sound obvious, but I think the starting point is always "what do you want the build to do?"

If the answer to that is "I just want something that's fun to play" then the question is what makes it fun for you? Do you want the best possible damage? (And are you ok with losing passive defence to get it?) Do you want to be really tanky so you don't have to move much? Is there a profession you really enjoy, or a weapon you want to use? Or even a condition you like and want to use as much as possible? Do you have a theme in mind?

Once you know what your top priorities are you match everything else to it.

When I'm making my own builds for PvE (so it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of them) I normally start with a theme for the character. For example my guardian's is "tiny tank". She's a minimum height asura and I want her to be able to hold back hordes of enemies many times her own size. So I focused on melee weapons and after trying them for a while decided greatsword and sword/shield or sword/focus are my favourites, partially because the greatsword's leap and sword's teleport make it easier to move around the battle so she's always where she needs to be. I added the Judge's Intervention utility skill for another teleport and then basically matched everything else to what I had so far. I picked stat combinations and upgrades which have power, vitality and/or toughness and traits which sounded useful based on how I play the character.

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Ultimately, you're asking us how to be creative.  Unfortunately, creativity is a quality that cannot be taught.  You either have it, or you don't.

However, regardless of creativity you'll need a good base knowledge of what the game does.  Look at all of the traits, look at all of the runes, look at all of the sigils, look at all of the skills, and look at the game's formulas in order to get a good grasp of what is going on.  Then, you can be creative.  Personally, I throw mostly random stuff together based off of loose associations, and see what works.  

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I think one of the harder things to be aware of with buildcraft is judging the value of skills and traits when looking at them.  Sometimes a single skill or trait can define an entire playstyle, sometimes they require 2 or 3 other skills or traits in tandem to really work.  Some are also awesome for PvP/WvW but suck in PvE and vice versa, some are all around good in any game mode.

I'd suggest getting used to the Training Golem, simply to show you how different skills, traits and party buffs can impact your prospective build.  As well, I'd cross reference that experience with live game play to see how that translates.  It might sound tedious but taking one or two professions through the grinder of swapping traits one by one and seeing what it does.  This will give you a bunch of experience and education on how the systems are setup in this game.

I'd then read up on builds at Snowcrows or Metabattle to see what other players have built around and how your experience matches up with that.  While there are cookie cutter builds a great many can be modified to suit your own preferred style of play, and taking your experience and blending it with community builds should result in a serviceable build that works for you.

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9 hours ago, Vedras.5602 said:

I'm not looking for Meta, I'm looking for a way to understand where to begin. With so many game modes and activities, what sort of mindset does someone adopt to understand where to begin with so many variables when trying to create something of their own?  

Set yourself a goal. What is a goal?
- you have found a funny rune you want to use with a certain profession
- you want to make a theme character
- you want to make a build that uses a certain weapon
- you want to make a condition/power-build for a class where exists no meta-build for that
- you want to make a build utilizing undervalued skills (e. g. Gadgets on Engineer)
- you want to try out some stats
- you want to gather experience about a certain topic (e. g. combos)

Once the goal is set, you either have your class already or you have to find it. It is always worth to inspect all classes that come to mind, even the weird ones. Also keep in mind that Elite Specializations unlock new weapons. And keep in mind that Elite Specializations can also be played with other weapons.

Next step should be the selection of the weapon(s). In many cases this was already done in the first step. But if you have to pick it now, take your time. Do not just read the tooltips and the wiki, try the weapons out in the field. If you can get a 'flow', you are on the right track. That means the weapon aligns with the playstyle you have in mind. You are not mindlessly mashing buttons.

After the weapon, you can pre-select heal, utility and elite-skills. This is not the final result, but you can pick what you think works best or at least feels best. Also pick the traits you are 100 % sure, you want to use them.

Check your weapons and utility/elite skills. Is there a priority damage-type? Not exactly? Here we go:


Make a list of all offensive skills you have at your disposal. Example:
Weapon 1
Weapon 2
Weapon 3
Weapon 4
Weapon 5
Utility 7

Now write down the direct damage for each of those skills and the condition-damage for each of those skills. Each in a new column. Then you need a column with 'time'. It is calculated cast-time + cooldown-time.

Divide both power- and condition-damage through the 'time'. The results are called p-dms and c-dms. Add up each to a sum and compare the two numbers. Which one is greater? Power or Condition? How much is the difference? This helps finding the correct stats. If Condition Damage is significantly higher than power (> ~ 60 %), you can risk picking other stat-combinations than Viper's. 

Note: This is a cheap & easy method to find out the damage-distribution of a build, which gives first hints about how to distribute the stats. I think the professionals have better methods. But this one is sufficient for non-meta-builds.

Before picking the stats, you should select the rest of your traits and skills. Focus priority: build-goal > damage > survival for regular builds and: build-goal > survival > damage for newbies. Pick a rune that fits into your theme/build. Preferably supporting your combat-style. For example, if you happen to use shouts, see if you can get the Trooper Rune working for you.

STOP! Before selecting the stats you should check boon-duration. Do you have all the buffs you want to have? How about the duration? Can you maintain permanent uptime or satisfying uptime? How much boon-duration is required to be happy?

With the required boon-duration and the previously calculated offensive stat distribution, you should be able to select gear. Usually start with the trinkets, full set of one stat-type, focus on boon-duration (if you want it)/condition-duration (if you want it)/vitality/toughness + offensive stats. For the armor, try to use a stat-combo that leans more into offensive. For the weapons, have a look at your stats, especially crit-rate and boon-duration. Need more? Try with weapons. Still not enough? Try adding single pieces to the armor.

Once you are at that point, you can figure out the rest on your own. The polishing of the build, like finding skill-combos and special rotations is a little more advanced. I would start small with easy builds, with a lower focus on DPS. Once you are familiar with the mechanics of build-creation, you can take a deep dive.

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