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Should I try getting better gear before taking on PoF?


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So me and my friend boosted up a mesmer (The build I'm using for now as I don't get an elite specialization https://metabattle.com/wiki/Build:Mesmer_-_Greatsword_Burst) & thief to come back to the game and try out the Path of Fire expansion. We are running builds off metabuild but are without our elite specializations and are finding it very tedious and long to kill just about anything. We have the basic soldiers gear from the boost and from looking online people saying to buy exotic gear from black lions trading centre but they seem just on par with the soldier's gear. Is there something we should be doing before taking on the Path of Fire expansion such as getting better gear? Because for example taking 8 minutes to kill the herald in the path of fire expansion is just tedious & boring of hacking away at a huge health sack especially getting ganged on by multiple mobs and just respawning and rushing them again & again. It's putting both of us off wanting to continue playing the expansion if it's going to continue being such a slug fest. I'm assuming we are doing something wrong so any help is appreciated as we really do want to enjoy & get into the game again.

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The boost gives exotic gear, but soldier stats lack damage stats other than power. That along with having no elite specs and the fact that you're new to the expansion will tend to make it more difficult.

For power builds your best damage output usually comes from berserker stats which have power/precision/ferocity. Compared to soldier you will have less health and armor, but you will crit a lot more often and for much higher damage. This means enemies should die more quickly.

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What Aliam said. Berserker exotic gear should be enough for mesmer (I run that too). You just have to remember to keep moving and dodging so you don't take so much damage, bc it is a glassy build. I can't suggest anything for thief though, haven't gotten that far with mine yet.

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Now that I'm home from work, I wanted to add that you shouldn't get discouraged. The devs give you tanky stats when you boost because they anticipate new players struggling with expansion content. With more health and armor, you don't have to be anywhere near as sharp with your game play. The down side is it might take you 8 minutes to down the Herald in the PoF storyline!

The good news is that, with a little effort unlocking an elite spec and acquiring appropriate stats, you will deal dramatically higher damage. To illustrate the point, here are a couple of videos comparing a strong damage dealer to a tanky healer spec against one of the tougher HoT hero point challenges, the Avatar of Balthazar in Auric Basin.

In this first video I'm playing Mirage using full Viper stats. Mirage is one of the strongest sustained damage dealers in the game right now and Viper stats are pure damage. The build is adapted to open world and therefore is not as strong as a raid damage setup which assumes support/healing, but it is still very much focused on dealing a lot of damage!

In this video I'm playing Tempest with Celestial stats. Celestial provides all of the basic stats, but at significantly lower amounts than sets like Viper or Berserker. However, in addition to the lower damage stats, the specializations and traits I've chosen are focused on healing and damage mitigation. This build is a hybrid, but leans strongly toward the defensive side.

Result: It takes the celestial tempest 3-4 times as long to kill the same boss as it does the viper mirage.

Hang in there. It gets better!

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@"Stubbsie.3968" said:Awesome thank for you the replies! So should I just buy some berserker gear and get an elite specialization. What weapons should I be using for that set up? Currently using Great sword/duel swords should I change that up?

Either of the elite specs will be stronger than the core spec. So, it would be a good idea to prioritize unlocking one as soon as possible. As a bonus, you can work on unlocking masteries on the way. This would be easiest in PoF, as the challenges only spawn veterans and the maps are easier to navigate. If you'd like some help and are on North American servers, feel free to hit me up in game.

The stats you choose should match your build. Berserker has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire while also being (more or less) the best power-based damage gear. It also pairs well with greatsword and swords, if you prefer those weapons. But keep in mind that each elite spec also features a weapon unlock that you may wish to try (axe for Mirage and shield for Chronomancer). Shield is a defensive/utility off-hand. Axe is a condition-based mainhand weapon.

So, first you need to decide on a spec. If you are going with Mirage you will almost certainly want to use axe. Berserker gear isn't suitable for use with axe. Viper deals the best damage for condition builds, but not in burst damage scenarios. It also requires crafting and is a great deal more expensive. But good news! There are cheaper condi sets you can buy and condi builds tolerate tanky stats with less damage loss than power builds, typically.

I've actually been giving this some thought lately. When new players ask for a build, they won't necessarily find their best performance with the build that works best for me. They also won't have my resources to acquire the stats I would use. So what build would I recommend to a new player that is both inexpensive/accessible and forgiving enough for new players while producing sufficient damage to take enemies down quickly? Here's my answer for Mirage:

http://gw2skills.net/editor/?vhAQNAnfWnsICNohFMDWoBMMjFcjycBitRqMAWtfxP9n/6H-jhyCwA61CE4JAkSXAgTBQTlH4U/xg5PHKBFu/wRlYAA-e

The stats and upgrades were chosen to keep the cost minimal while maximizing condition damage and survivability. I also wanted to keep the play style as simple as possible, because Mirage is a fairly busy spec. That's why I've chosen several signets, which provide solid passive benefits in addition to useful active effects.

The build has extremely high toughness and condition damage as well as fairly high health. It generates tons of clones as well. These clones will provide further passive damage reduction on top of your high armor value via the Illusionary Defense trait. Each clone will also provide healing via Signet of the Ether. I chose sigil of stamina so that in normal open world play you should have endless dodges when engaged with groups of normal units. Dodging increases damage for Mirage by generating clones and allowing ambush attacks. It also ends up avoiding tons of damage! So dodge away with this build and if you run yourself out of endurance, so what? With this much toughness you can take a hit quite well!

I'm sorry, but I don't know Chronomancer so I can't recommend a build for that. But chrono tends toward power stats like berserker.

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I went ahead and purchased all of the gear for this build, which ended up costing less than 20g for full level 80 exotic stats and superior quality upgrades. It only took 1:38 to complete my test challenge, compared with 1:31 for my Viper Mirage setup, which is full ascended! Wow!

http://gw2skills.net/editor/?vhAQNAnfWnsICNohFMDWoBMMjFcjyP9n/6vMAWtfxcBitRC-jhyCwANVeIc/BDm/goEUvWgjKxSpLAn6PBeCAAOFAkCIhRbA-e

You can see that the adds weren't able to pressure me at all. With a constant supply of enemies to kill, I'm able to spam dodge and avoid most of the damage. It gets a little trickier once the adds are gone, as I no longer gain a full endurance bar every couple of seconds! This reduces both my damage output and my survivability, but it's still pretty solid!

I didn't expect this to work as well as it did. I might have to do more experimentation now!

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@AliamRationem.5172 said:

@"Stubbsie.3968" said:Awesome thank for you the replies! So should I just buy some berserker gear and get an elite specialization. What weapons should I be using for that set up? Currently using Great sword/duel swords should I change that up?

Either of the elite specs will be stronger than the core spec. So, it would be a good idea to prioritize unlocking one as soon as possible. As a bonus, you can work on unlocking masteries on the way. This would be easiest in PoF, as the challenges only spawn veterans and the maps are easier to navigate. If you'd like some help and are on North American servers, feel free to hit me up in game.

The stats you choose should match your build. Berserker has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire while also being (more or less) the best power-based damage gear. It also pairs well with greatsword and swords, if you prefer those weapons. But keep in mind that each elite spec also features a weapon unlock that you may wish to try (axe for Mirage and shield for Chronomancer). Shield is a defensive/utility off-hand. Axe is a condition-based mainhand weapon.

So, first you need to decide on a spec. If you are going with Mirage you will almost certainly want to use axe. Berserker gear isn't suitable for use with axe. Viper deals the best damage for condition builds, but not in burst damage scenarios. It also requires crafting and is a great deal more expensive. But good news! There are cheaper condi sets you can buy and condi builds tolerate tanky stats with less damage loss than power builds, typically.

I've actually been giving this some thought lately. When new players ask for a build, they won't necessarily find their best performance with the build that works best for me. They also won't have my resources to acquire the stats I would use. So what build would I recommend to a new player that is both inexpensive/accessible and forgiving enough for new players while producing sufficient damage to take enemies down quickly? Here's my answer for Mirage:

The stats and upgrades were chosen to keep the cost minimal while maximizing condition damage and survivability. I also wanted to keep the play style as simple as possible, because Mirage is a fairly busy spec. That's why I've chosen several signets, which provide solid passive benefits in addition to useful active effects.

The build has extremely high toughness and condition damage as well as fairly high health. It generates tons of clones as well. These clones will provide further passive damage reduction on top of your high armor value via the Illusionary Defense trait. Each clone will also provide healing via Signet of the Ether. I chose sigil of stamina so that in normal open world play you should have endless dodges when engaged with groups of normal units. Dodging increases damage for Mirage by generating clones and allowing ambush attacks. It also ends up avoiding tons of damage! So dodge away with this build and if you run yourself out of endurance, so what? With this much toughness you can take a hit quite well!

I'm sorry, but I don't know Chronomancer so I can't recommend a build for that. But chrono tends toward power stats like berserker.

Wow you have really gone well and beyond to help me, unfortunately, I'm playing on the EU servers or I would totally hit you up. Man all this is very helpful and shows there is a bunch I need to learn! that build seems super useful & affordable. I'm glad to see this community has such awesome people like yourself that is willing to put time into helping newbies like me im going to try put this build together myself now and give it a whirl again thanks a million :D

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@"AliamRationem.5172" said:I went ahead and purchased all of the gear for this build, which ended up costing less than 20g for full level 80 exotic stats and superior quality upgrades. It only took 1:38 to complete my test challenge, compared with 1:31 for my Viper Mirage setup, which is full ascended! Wow!

http://gw2skills.net/editor/?vhAQNAnfWnsICNohFMDWoBMMjFcjyP9n/6vMAWtfxcBitRC-jhyCwANVeIc/BDm/goEUvWgjKxSpLAn6PBeCAAOFAkCIhRbA-e

You can see that the adds weren't able to pressure me at all. With a constant supply of enemies to kill, I'm able to spam dodge and avoid most of the damage. It gets a little trickier once the adds are gone, as I no longer gain a full endurance bar every couple of seconds! This reduces both my damage output and my survivability, but it's still pretty solid!

I didn't expect this to work as well as it did. I might have to do more experimentation now!

You mention that you got superior quality upgrades are you talking about the superior runes? Also the trader on my server has no exotic quality Back item/earrings/ring/amulet only up to rare so I thought I could use mythic forge to upgrade them but think I got how the mythic forge works wrong because I have 4 rabid spineguard(rare) but can't put them into the forge I'm assuming for accessories you have to use a different method to upgrade them?

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@Stubbsie.3968 said:

@"AliamRationem.5172" said:I went ahead and purchased all of the gear for this build, which ended up costing less than 20g for full level 80 exotic stats and superior quality upgrades. It only took 1:38 to complete my test challenge, compared with 1:31 for my Viper Mirage setup, which is full ascended! Wow!

You can see that the adds weren't able to pressure me at all. With a constant supply of enemies to kill, I'm able to spam dodge and avoid most of the damage. It gets a little trickier once the adds are gone, as I no longer gain a full endurance bar every couple of seconds! This reduces both my damage output and my survivability, but it's still pretty solid!

I didn't expect this to work as well as it did. I might have to do more experimentation now!

You mention that you got superior quality upgrades are you talking about the superior runes? Also the trader on my server has no exotic quality Back item/earrings/ring/amulet only up to rare so I thought I could use mythic forge to upgrade them but think I got how the mythic forge works wrong because I have 4 rabid spineguard(rare) but can't put them into the forge I'm assuming for accessories you have to use a different method to upgrade them?

Yes, superior runes/sigils and the exotic jewels socketed in my trinket upgrade slots. I didn't cheap out and use rare quality anywhere (I just cheaped out and bought sigils/runes that don't cost a ton!). That's odd that you couldn't find anything on TP. Did you perhaps have a filter set that would have hidden the results? For instance, the backpack is an item you choose your stats from a list when you equip it for the first time. It will show up if you show only 80 exotic gear, but not if you specify condition damage.

I'm glad you've found this helpful. I have a thread going where I've tested various condi mirage setups for open world and posted videos. Things have changed along the way as patches happen, but you should check it out. There is some good discussion in there regarding the merits of various traits and builds. Here's a link to the thread:

https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/30394/open-world-domination-mirage/p1

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