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Question about spec.

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If you're playing solo you probably won't want to go for anything too extreme. For example a ranger with the druid elite spec, with a staff, in Harrier's equipment (which gives power, healing power and concentration) is a popular raid build because it's great for supporting a group but not so good when you're on your own because they do relatively little damage so it would take a long time to kill anything.

But the specilisations are just one part of that. For a long time I played a druid with rabid/sinister or vipers equipment using a shortbow and sword/torch and that worked well. I could kill things well enough, keep myself alive and could also help keep other players alive. The biggest problem was the occasional person who expected me to keep them alive no matter what they did (which doesn't work even in games with dedicated healer classes) but that was more their problem than mine.

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it kind of does and doesn't. A coherent build is already 10 times stronger then a random build, and meta builds are twice as strong in one particular area from that. The high end performance isn't necessary, but the community has a baked in misconception that grew out the fact that changing stats are a pain in the butt.

Min/Maxing in actually detrimental, because the game operates on a relatively small number scale, and the enemies themselves are rarely scaled to some extreme level. On top of this, the trait system is a major force multiplier, often doubling the effective power of a build over raw stats alone. Because of this, the majority of the game's content and difficulty can be measured as rough thresholds for success; and that pushing too far into one extreme is an inefficient use of stats that could make you viable in multiple areas at the same time. Like dumping 150 stats each into toughness and vitality is usually enough to survive 1 or 2 additional hits from big enemies, or that you can spare 150 Prec (which equals 10% crit chance) and still have 90% crit rate.

The reason we don't operate this way is because our stat system is heavily bound to the Gear system, and the Gear system does NOT allow for easy or precise allocation of stats. This makes it largely impossible to fine tune for efficient stat use in all areas of the game on the fly, and instead we've become over reliant on stat dumping into damage to make fights as short as possible. To make up the short fall on defenses, we just abuse the mechanical nature of the game's combat to avoid damage, or using % based effects to mitigate any damage we do take. Theres really no optimal reason to run full glass all the time..... but we do it anyway because its the easiest solution given the circumstances.

The reason you keep hearing "you can run anything in open world" is because the threshold for success is incredibly low overall. Mobs don't do much damage, don't hit often, and very little HP compared to what you'd see in tank'n'spank types of MMORPGs. Expansion maps are notably harder because the mobs do a threatening amount of damage, and many have access to debilitating conditions and hard CCs.

Its only in Raids, Dungeons and higher end Fractals where very high damage matters more, as everything there has enough HP to survive the opening burst of most builds. That content is also structured around the assumption of a party, which naturally force multiplies through support features found in every class..... but can be pushed to an extreme with builds specifically made with that in mind.

Like I said earlier... a coherent build is 10 times stronger then a random (or face value) one, and you get a lot of leeway in solo friendly content to not have to build for max damage. That said...... Damage is just so universally effective in this game, anything you do trade it off for should have some good reasoning or better return on investment. And sadly its this idea that gets massively misconstrued by "hardcore players" to support their belief of speed runs being the "only" viable (if not optimal) approach to anything.

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