Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Night of Falling Down

Finally managed to sync up schedules with pal Clamatius last night and we played a few rounds in the Team Arena. That's right, didn't take long after this post for me to get sick of the randoms and started looking for a team to play with. And it gave me an excuse to try out my new microphone headset (I'm a bit picky about my headphones because I tend to use them a lot. Ever since my old headset broke I've been hunting around for a replacement. It's taken three stores and four purchases but I think I got it right this time.) so I quickly left the Arena. Got a few matches in before I left, though, and while I wasn't doing all that great (won one, lost the other two) I thought I was starting to get my legs under me with the Blind/Blur turret I was running. But I switched builds although not exactly roles when Clamatius invited me to throw down with him and some others from the XoO crew.

The idea was something Clamatius has been tinkering with – hex/degen pressure. The team started out with a Landy Derv, two hexing Necros – one Blood with Spoil Victor and Life Siphon, the other Curses with Reaper's Mark and Faintheartedness (Along with the new-to-me Well of Darkness which looks nice.), and a Monk. I was tasked with running the Blood Necro and here's my build:

Red Secret Nights

Soul Reaping – 2+1
Blood Magic – 12+4
Curses – 8+1
Inspiration Magic – 10

  1. Blood of the Aggressor
  2. Spoil Victor
  3. Life Siphon
  4. Malaise
  5. Resurrection Signet
  6. Signet of Humility
  7. Leech Signet
  8. Mantra of Inscriptions

Armor: +Health, Superior Vigor and Blood, Minor Curses and Soul Reaping runes, with one Vitae rune.
Equipment Set #1: PvP Blood Staff with +health, 20/20 recharge/casting speed
Equipment Set #2: +15/-1 PvP Blood Wand, 20 casting PvP Blood Focus of Fortitude
Equipment Set #3: +15/-1 PvP Blood Wand, +15/-1 PvP Blood Focus of Fortitude
Equipment Set #4: -5 en PvP Spear of Fortitude, off-attribute -5 en PvP Focus of Fortitude (Which should result in -2 energy total. It used to, at least, although I dind't bother to check.)

Since earlier in the night I'd emptied my hoard of Faction in anticipation of a lengthy Arena run (Picking up Divert Hexes, Zealous Benediction, and Sandstorm. All solid pick-ups and, yeah, I splurged a bit.) I was a bit low and couldn't unlock too many NF skills. But I had more than enough to pick Blood of the Aggressor which is a nice, low-cost damage skill in the right attribute for a Blood guy. Revealed my ignorance (Always a scary prospect but, then, it's a scary year and I'm trying to get better at that.) a bit to ask about what was the best armor and equipment to use these days but the answers jibbed with what I'd been planning myself so I was ready to go quickly – just had to craft up the gear and save the templates because I hadn't played a Nec yet.

As the night wore on, we found it difficult to get kills so the Dervisher was replaced by a P/E and I swapped out Malaise for Shadow Strike so I could contribute to a spike better. That left me without a Curse skill, too, so I shifted to a 12/12/3 attribute layout with 16 Blood and 12 Inspiration.

Basic idea here is to lay Spoil Victor on the Monk, cover it with Life Siphon, spread Life Siphon around (with Malaise when I had it). Use Signet of Humility to lock a critical elite – something spammed like Searing Flames or catch a Shadow Prison to delay a spike, that sort of thing – while Inscriptions speeds its recharge. Leech Signet's there for energy management (And it's also good for hitting rez skills in the Arena where a few seconds of being dead can make a big difference.). And Blood of the Aggressor is there to help out on a spike.

So, like I said, not all that much different than a blind/blur guy just in a completely different profession. The idea with a blind/blur turret is to keep the other team swamped under a sea of hexes and conditions so there's a lot of switching targets and paying attention to durations and recharges. The Necro I was running does much the same thing, just using hexes and skill disabling for a different effect. So it wasn't all that big a switch for me.

Although, of course, I nubbed it up while getting used to the skill bar. I had some difficulties figuring out who to Humiliate, for example, and I missed some 2 second casts with Leech Signet which, you know, is really bad for an interrupter and left me hurting for energy at times. Living off my higher energy sets is something I like to do only occasionally, after all, because you hurt yourself in the regeneration department in the long-run for that short term boost. Found myself switching up far too often, I thought. Didn't really bother me, though, because it takes a while to learn a new build. And I'm still incredibly rusty. So, I sucked most of the run and made some dumb blunders (Accidentally putting Spoil Victor on a Bunny Thumper was probably the “best” one of the night.) – like the Arena is for people who want to test out their individual builds, Team Arena's all about practicing as a team. Winning there is a bonus and, of course, nice but the real goal is to work on, well, whatever it is you need to get better at.

At the moment what I need to get better at is a large list summed up best, I think, by the phrase “Not sucking so much”. I felt I was getting better and more comfortable with my character as the night went on and that's what I was looking for. But we didn't win a game at all last night. Or, really, get many kills. The blame lays in the build I think because while degen's nice if you don't have anything to follow it up then you're not going to get kills – constantly sapping away their health is nasty but it takes too long giving them time to recover and, you know, kill you – and that was exactly our problem. Had a hard time getting anyone down. We did run into some good teams and had some tough fights and all but we had problems getting pressure on Zealous Benediction Monks and, well, there were a lot of those. And since we couldn't get kills our Well didn't get set up and that took away a lot of our ability to defend ourselves. Interesting build to try out but I think, ultimately, not a working one.

My teammates were good sports about it and, I think, understanding that I'm still shaking the rust off. Clamatius, for one, was quick to offer a "gg" after a match because, you know, he's a nice guy. Myself, I didn't offer a one. Not because they weren't good games but because I don't like to offer one unless I think that I've played well personally (Just makes it mean a little something more to me that way.). I didn't so I kept silent. I'm sure it could have been taken as mounting frustration because, really, no one likes to lose but I was being quiet because I was concentrating. Had to focus just on getting the basics right. Because I wasn't really playing up to my standards at all. And, you know, it was getting pretty late by the end of the run.

Finished the night only up a few hundred faction (I'm going to have to get some more Arena in so I have some on hand to unlock things this weekend. I'm close to scraping the bottom at this point.) but since I got a chance to play with XoO (They've been around for a while and I've known several members, after all. Nice guild. Big, for my tastes, but full of good people.) it wasn't a wasted night at all. I'm trying to get better, after all, and the only way to do it is to play. Some nights will be good, some nights will be bad, but the trick is to keep coming back for more.


Whoops, the Clam beat me to it. Check out his post if you want to see the build and the thinking behind it. I'm not quite sure how the slanderous accusation that I'm a midliner has found its way into Clamatius's thought processes, though.


Clamatius said...

For future reference, which character role is your favourite?

Your equipment looks similar to mine except that I don't use a staff and I always have a shield on the energy hiding set. You get +8 armour without having the requisite stat. Usually I'll have a +armour vs. slashing or vs. blunt shield. Gives you a nice defensive set when you have to run like hell - and if you die and get res sig'd you have more energy that way.

Spoil on a Thumper is good since they have trouble unloading a hammer combo on people without doing 100-200 damage to themselves.

Missing 2 second casts with Leech Sig is pretty bad, yeah. Get an interrupt on that bar and get some practice!

Sausaletus Rex said...

For future reference, which character role is your favourite?

Just invite me and tell me what you need to play. My favorite role is "someone who has a team to practice with".

My inclination is for the melee stuff (Not really up to calling and such at the moment, though, and since someone had already grabbed that the other night I wasn't bothered.) but, really, it depends on how I'm feeling. I like to play around with a lot of different things (Which, you know, is not really recommended for anyone remotely sane.) and my moods are fickle. At the moment since I've been tooling around in a Dervish a lot in PvE I have been tending towards the midline casters but, really, I'll try and play anything given a chance.

Your equipment looks similar to mine except that I don't use a staff and I always have a shield on the energy hiding set.

You use just a non-energy wand/focus? Interesting, hadn't considered that but back in the day you'd get more useful mods out of a staff than with wands/focus. The reason to use those was, of course, that you could double up on the +15/-1s.

Yeah, I thought long and hard about a shield but I figured that having just a little bit more energy to shed was better (This comes from playing an Elementalist a lot lately, I think) if I needed to get rid of a Malaise or something - which, you know, might not be the best thing to do anymore.

Spoil on a Thumper is good

But I was aiming for the Monk!

Yeah, it actually worked out despite the fact that I had absolutely no idea it was a nice move - which is what makes it "good". After looking around and, you know, reading your comments at your blog, I take it I should have been trying to do that sort of thing but I thought the idea was to put Spoil on the healers to punish them - something like Scourge Healing. Ah well, live and learn.

Missing 2 second casts with Leech Sig is pretty bad, yeah. Get an interrupt on that bar and get some practice!

I know, I know. I can get them if I'm camping. But otherwise it's hit and miss when I *should* be nailing them consistently. It's more like "Huh, that's a long cast, isn't it? Oh, wait, I have an interrupt, hit it hit it hit it! Gah!" Or target scanning and catching one in midcast and just not having the reflexes - yet - to hit it. Remapping my control/interface scheme for all this new Hero stuff and getting my fingers all twisted lately isn't helping any. But, yeah, definitely something I need to practice.

That's a long list, though.